Leadership Interviews

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Summary of interview

In the quest for a vivid understanding about leadership traits and the related factors, I interviewed Dr. Witchil, who has worked in the Respiratory Care department for several years. He works in the respiratory therapy field as an instructor and a professional. He considers leadership as a self-fulfilling strategy used to change the perception of his followers in various aspects. Dr. Witchil is a scholar who has various academic achievements. He worked as a lecturer at State University from 1980 to 1982 at the start of his career life. He later became an instructor, assistant professor, director, CHP Health Resource Center and Respiratory Care Outreach Coordinator at the same university between 1982 and 1999. He worked as an instructor for curriculum and instruction at the University of Austin and later a director of clinical education at State University. He later worked as an associate professor and a professor at State University a position he holds till present. He has also been a chair of the department of respiratory care at State University since 2003 until present.

The different work types have enabled him to acquire leadership skills in various fields there making him experienced and of trusted reliability. The different positions of leadership have also enabled him to acquire experience in handling different issues that arise in leadership. His major area has been at the University where he worked with diverse personalities. He acquired a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1975 and later A.A.S. in Respiratory care. In 1983, he acquired M.SH.P in health care administration and allied health education from State University. His Ph.D. was based on interactive effects between advance organizers/ preferred learning styles.

Major points

Dr. Witchil was inspired by his mother, a medical technologist, to pursue respiratory therapy studies. He gives credit to his mother for the motivation in his early career stages. He defines leadership as having a positive influence, character, humility, and humbleness. He also associated leadership with setting a good example for the followers. His definition of leadership takes different forms since he also considers it as a self-fulfilling goal to change the way the followers think and see things. He has inspired several students of which some are in his department after recognizing his achievements as a leader.

Dr. Witchil understands the impact of motivation. He motivates others by exploring their potentials and by offering the right guidance to them. He also acknowledges the accomplishments of his followers by celebrating with them and being a good listener to their concerns. Dr. Witchil admires leaders like Bill Gates, who invented Microsoft and his dean for her support and believing in him. He admires the way the leaders make decisions in various situations. He has been involved in situations that required him to make critical decisions like the establishment of the polysomnography program and opening the sleep lab in his respiratory care department. He opened a brand new sleep lab from an idea without any financial support from the college/university. He demonstrated the skills of the respiratory care educator, architecture, and marketing skills in constructing and equipping a fully accredited sleep lab by the American academy of sleep medicine. It was a challenge since the project cost an approximate of $ 160,000 and did not get any funding from the University. Upon realizing the work he did, the furniture and medical equipment companies agreed to help and in return get return tax deduction recommendations from the university. The sleep laboratory receives referrals from other doctors and generates revenues that help in equipping the respiratory care department with the required devices.

Dr. Witchil has a personal philosophy that guides him. It involves being approachable, humble and having an open door policy. He believes that approachable leaders are easy to relate with and also have learned the art of good communication. The question about leaders being born or development was challenging to distinguish the explanations. He believes that leaders have some critical in-born qualities but require training and nurturing to improve their leadership skills and evolve their character. Thus, a leader is both born and developed as one gains experience in various leadership roles. He cited several leadership strengths like being good at making personal connections, being accommodative, and enjoys breaking down walls for a better conversation. According to the traits, he concentrates on the people driven skills to motivate then in their work through constant communication. Good leaders are open to all and are willing to go extra miles for the sake of the organization. Despite the leadership strengths, there are some areas in his leadership that require improvement. Dr. Witchil expressed the concern of seeking for help whenever there is an internal issue. He fails to plan in advance resulting in working overload. The appropriate approach to improve the weakness is delegating his co-workers and empowering the faculty members to be responsible for their actions.

Dr. Witchil plans to develop the solution for the problem of the aging, respiratory care educator. He has a future goal of rising the next generation of respiratory care academics, teachers, researchers, and co-workers in the respiratory care settings. He plans to offer a master’s degree in respiratory care leadership and the field of polysomnography. Thus, his goal is to transform the nursing practice dynamics to a more efficient system of care.

Analysis 

The interview session was more dynamic than I planned it to be and also lasted for three hours other than the scheduled two and a half. However, I was able to acquire most of the information that I needed about leadership.  Dr. Witchil has been a trusted professional in the respiratory therapy field. As such, he has placed a niche and a brand name to his services and expertise in the sector. My focus lies in highlighting the best practices about leadership. The preceding analysis was based entirely on his leadership style, mode of motivation, his philosophy, and long-term vision.

Dr. Witchil adopts both participative and transformational leadership style. Transformational and participatory leadership styles lead to a well-balanced and change-oriented environment. Change is inevitable in an organization and thus requires a change-oriented work environment. An effective leader applies a style that depends on the composition of the team. As evident from the discussion about Witchils’ major points, it is evident that the support staff is an important aspect of the major achievements in his career. Participative style of leadership is demonstrated by the active engagement of the team members and listening to their feedback and then decides on what actions to take. Transformative leadership through collaboration and team involvement challenges and encourages his team to explore new ways and new opportunities. By his excellent communication skills and his ability to translate his vision into reality, he motivates, empowers and allows his followers to experience the same passion and motivation to fulfill their goals. His ability to analyze and identify the strengths of his team is a strong trait that makes him approachable. The delegating of the tasks is not a significant trait in his leadership style which he cited the need for improvement. Additionally, the practice gives his team a sense of responsibility and a taste of leadership by themselves, thus helping them to remain motivated and focused towards the set organizational goals.

He is highly committed and motivated to his vision and goals in his work and deeply committed to excellence. His aim is to develop the solution for the problem of the aging, respiratory care educator. Because of his passion, love, and active participation in enhancing efficiency and excellence in his role as a leader, people respond to him openly. Thus his philosophy of being approachable, humble and having an open door policy works out to his advantage in his leadership role in the healthcare industry.

Profile 2: Dr. Hatem Al-Qhtani, General Supervisor of Critical Care in Jizan Region

Summary of interview

In search of a better insight into leadership in the health care sector, I proceeded with the interview sessions where I contacted Dr. Hatem, who works as a General Supervisor of Critical Care. He is also an adult critical care and pulmonary consultant at PMNH. His leadership traits and approach is one of its kinds by his being ready to lead by example in everything he guides his team members to do. His personal philosophy of leadership involves being patient-focused and seeking for excellence in all the nursing obligations.

Dr. Hatem studied a bachelor of medicine and surgery in 2001 at King Khalid University in Abha. He later enjoined the fellowship for internal medicine in 2009 and passed the pulmonary disease examination in December 2012. He was awarded the Saudi fellowship certificate in adult pulmonary diseases (SF-PD). He also joined the adult critical care medicine fellowship in 2014 where he served for some time. He is a member of the Saudi Thoracic Society and Saudi Critical Care Society. At present, he works as an adult critical care and pulmonary consultant at PMNH. He also serves as the General Supervisor of critical care in Jizan region.

Major points

Dr. Hatem believes that leadership is an art of guiding followers to a common goal through a set of laid out strategy. As his leadership profile shows, Dr. Hatem has a strong passion for leadership to an extent of engaging in the activities of the junior staff to show them how to handle certain tasks. He believes that leadership is acting from the background and not being evident in the big picture. His main focus is seeing the success of his followers or the team members as a group and not as his personal achievement. Dr. Hatem understands the impact of motivating others in the work they do on a day to day basis. As a general supervisor, he observed that the staff were strict on time rather than on the nature of the services offered to the patients. Many of the practitioners left the hospital premises immediately the time was over without much consideration of patient care. They lacked motivation in their work which is critical in enhancing productivity. He adopted a style of motivation that involves working closely with the staff to learn their challenges and offering timely feedback on the issues raised. He also enhanced the work environment premise by making it more patient-provider focused not only patient centered.

Dr. Hatem admires knowledgeable leaders about their expectations in leadership as well as people who have a clear focus on their goals. He admires such leaders because of their ability to handle the issues that arise in the best way possible without creating conflict among other members. Such leaders are eager to learn more about their work and also accept corrections when on the wrong. It is needful for leaders to be focused towards the realization of the goals they set and within certain timelines.

Dr. Hatem cited leading by example and being patient-focused as his philosophy to working in the health care sector. He believes that no leader can guide others to a direction which he has no idea about, hence necessary to lead by example. The nature of the path and environment towards the realization of the goals should not hinder a leader from achieving their goals. He does not have a mentor but has notable leaders whom he strives to follow their method of leadership.

According to Dr. Hatem, leaders are born, but they develop most of their skills as they interact with others and encounter different situations in their career path. A leader has in-born traits that are difficult to develop artificially since they demonstrate a unique ability to influence others. He considers himself a leader since he has had the skills since his early childhood days. I enquired of his leadership strengths, and he cited several attributes which form the basis for his leadership achievements. He explained that he is knowledgeable in the field of pulmonology and critical care, leads by example, is patient-focused, and is excellent in supervising and training the junior students, new medical school graduates, respiratory therapists, and nurses. Despite the strengths, he requires developing in some areas of concern of his leadership work. He identifies that he is slow to delegating duties for fear of inefficiency despite training his staff to be responsible and goal oriented. He is also quick in decision making without prior consultations with all the concerned people. He has been working towards developing the two aspects to enhance his leadership profile. Good leaders are made by people who have outstanding judgment at all times, who excel in various leadership situations in the field, and those who can handle disasters when they arise. He has the plans of increasing the number of trained personnel in critical care and develops a Tele-ICU that combines all Jizan hospitals for better case management and optimized prioritizing of referrals.

Analysis

Dr. Hatem is a General Supervisor of critical care and holds responsibility for a large group of nurses under her leadership. The analysis is based on the leadership style he demonstrates as well as the leadership traits and career goals.

He practices participative leadership which is democratic in nature. The team members have a value in leadership, but the final decision lies in the leader. The style enhances motivation because employees make contributions to the decision-making process. Dr. Hatem has been struggling to incorporate the employees in decision making since he understands the impact of participative leadership to the employees.  His leadership traits are outstanding and make him successful in his career. He cites leading by example and being knowledge as key aspects of his leadership traits. He plans to develop a Tele-ICU for better case management and optimized prioritizing of referrals. As such, he is a visionary leader and the dedicated towards the improvement of service delivery.

Summary of Interviews

Both leaders are in the health care sector, but in different departments that provide a diverse source of information about leadership in the health care industry. Each of the leaders has leadership experiences that enhance my perception and approach towards good leadership traits. As identified in the interview responses, commitment, and dedication towards goal attainment are key aspects of leadership. Dr. Witchil considers leadership as the ability to influence the positive character and being a good example to the followers. The definition of leadership aligns with that of Dr. Hatem, who cites that a leader ought to lead by example. The understanding of whether leaders are born or developed is similar to both interviewees. They explain that a leader is born, but develops the skills and applicable attributes through experience and learning from different situations of their lives. The two leaders have similar plans of providing solutions to the underlying heath issues in their regions. Leaders ought to be innovators and problem solvers for them to make an impact in their lives.

I would subscribe to the aspects discussed by both leaders to make my leadership profile remarkable. They both have important insights that every leader should adopt in their work. The conversations helped to acquire some attributes applicable in leadership that would be challenging to adopt without listening to real life cases. Also, the interviews have positive implications for practice in my career and also technical education since I will have a more focused and clear strategy of the type of person I would want to become when in leadership.

 Bibliography

Joseph L. Badaracco Jr. (2006). Questions of Character: Illuminating the Heart of Leadership        through Literature

Northouse, P.G. (2013).  Leadership: Theory and Practice (7th Ed).  Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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