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 Public Health Administration and Leadership | Week 2

Week 2: Leadership Skills, Competencies, and Theories

Theories of leadership have their inception in ancient times. Among early thought leaders, Plato in his Republic wrote of leadership in terms of wisdom and selflessness (Carlyle, 1997). Between 335 and 323 B.C., in his treatise Politics, Aristotle  taught that some are marked from birth for subjugation and others for  command (Everson, 1996). The Renaissance continued the focus on the  ability to control followers. Thomas Carlyle was credited with founding  the Great Man theory in the 1800s.

Most  in contemporary society abhor any justification of dominance, yet  throughout the ages, the right of certain individuals to lead other  individuals has been widely accepted. The notion of whether true leaders  are born with or learn these styles and competencies is more debatable,  however.

From  viewing effective leaders as charismatic battlefield warriors to  today’s more collaborative, humble team players, organizational  perceptions of leadership in general have evolved. Yet, the urgent  demands of public health call for its own set of unique leadership  competencies and skills. What qualities do you possess already, and on  which do you need to build to be an effective public administrator?

This week, you explore personal styles and competencies, including your own, needed to lead in the field of public health.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Evaluate personal leadership styles and competencies
  • Analyze competencies needed for public health leadership positions
  • Identify key terms and concepts related to  theories of leadership and management

Photo Credit: [Rawpixel Ltd]/[iStock / Getty Images Plus]/Getty Images

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Shi, L., & Johnson, J. A. (2014). Novick and Morrow’s public health administration: Principles for population-based management  (3rd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Chapter 12, “Leadership for Public Health” (pp. 241–246, 248–265)

Association  of Schools of Public Health. (n.d.). Public health leadership  competency framework. Retrieved March 11, 2016, from  https://web.archive.org/web/20150714115618/http://www.heartlandcenters.slu.edu/nln/about/framework.pdf

Center  for Creative Leadership. (2011). Addressing the leadership gap in  health care: What’s needed when it comes to leader talent? [White  paper]. Retrieved from http://www.ccl.org/leadership/pdf/research/addressingleadershipGapHealthcare.pdf

Rabarison,  K., Ingram, R. C., & Holsinger, J. W., Jr. (2013). Application of  situational leadership to the national voluntary public health  accreditation process. Frontiers in Public Health, 1(26), 1–4.
Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Turning Point. (n.d.). Collaborativeleadership: Self-assessment questionnaires. Retrieved November 05, 2015, http://socialmarketingcollaborative.org/smc/toolkit/pdf/CL_selfassessments.pdf

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2009a). Organizational development and leadership: Leadership [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 10 minutes.

50 Lessons (Producer). (n.d.). Warren Bennis: A leader is shaped by his team [Video file]. Nashua, NH: Skillsoft.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 4 minutes.

Assignment: Leadership Development Plan

Great  leadership is often obvious in hindsight, when history reveals the end  of a particular event or story. Predicting the types of leaders needed  to take public health into the future, however, remains elusive. Many  theories and types of leadership abound, from situational to adaptive to  transformational and beyond. As a future public health professional, it  is important to grasp these frameworks, but within these are leadership  competencies that are constantly evolving and shifting as the landscape  of public health shifts.

Developing  into an effective leader is a lifelong process. Shi and Johnson liken  it to the Native American symbol of the ever-ascending spiral (2014)  with upward progress based on goals. The critical need for leadership  training has long been noted. Yet, any training must begin with a  baseline of self-awareness of leadership competencies an individual  possesses as well as a plan for developing those competencies still  needed to effectively lead. But with any journey toward a goal, one must  have a clear destination in mind. The National Public Health Leadership  Network has developed the “Public Health Leadership Competency  Framework,” which provides a good starting point for gaining  self-awareness. 

For  this week’s Assignment, review the Learning Resources. Complete one of  the assessments (e.g., Turning Point Assessment) of your leadership  style and competencies. Use the results from the assessment as a  starting point for developing your leadership development plan.

The Assignment (3–5 pages):

Complete a leadership development plan that includes the following:

Section I

  • Your current strengths and weaknesses as a leader
  • Opportunities and threats to developing and further enhancing your leadership capacity as a change agent (e.g., social change)

Justify your responses with specific examples.

Section II

Using  the “Public Health Leadership Competency Framework,” developed by the  National Public Health Leadership Network as a guide (refer to the  article posted in the weekly Resources), describe a leadership plan to  develop the following over the next 3–5 years. Include the following:

  • Your core transformational competencies (visionary leadership, sense of mission, effective change agent)
  • Political competencies (political processes, negotiation, ethics and power, marketing and education)
  • Organizational competencies
  • Team-building competencies
  • Personality factors
  • Crisis abilities

Justify your rationale for your selections.

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