you must also post substantive responses to at least two of your classmates’ or instructor’s posts in this thread. Your response should include elements such as follow-up questions, further exploration of topics from the initial post, or requests for further clarification or explanation on some points made by your classmates.
Adaptive leadership focuses on how leaders encourage and enable followers to adapt to issues, problems and challenges. How they mobilize individuals and groups to tackle tough problems. Followership is defined as “a process whereby an individual or individuals accept the influence of others to accomplish a common goal”. To study followership is to try to understand how and why followers respond to leaders (Northouse, 2021). They coincide in that in order to have followers you must have a leader, and a person cannot be considered a leader if no one is listening to them. Adaptive leadership is about how to get others to follow us, followership is about why followers follow.
Adaptive leadership and followership are very relevant in healthcare administration. Before this course, when I thought of leaders I had a preconceived notion of people in administrative positions – Chief Executive Officers, Chief Medical Officers, Chief Nurse Executive. Now, I think of the leaders in every aspect of a healthcare organization – RNs, CNAs, laundry, housekeeping staff, reception and billing.
I especially thought of nurses as leaders when I heard Ronald Heifetz say in the news story, “It’s not your job to actually solve their problem. It’s your job to develop their capacity to solve their own problem” (Vedantam, 2013). This comes in to play every day when nurses do their best to try to reason with diabetic patients who continue to engage in behaviors that are harmful to their health – eating wrong foods, refusing to take insulin/medication. The nurse is the leader and the patient is the follower (or not). The nurse has to reason with, try to motivate and educate the patient on how to take responsibility for their own health. Each individual patient has their own reasons (self-destructive, unfamiliar, stubborn, cavalier, etc.) for why they are not compliant with their diet and medication. The adaptive nurse/leader has to encourage and navigate each individual patient and their personal experiences in order to give them the opportunity to deal with the changes they need to make to live a healthier life. It is helpful if the leadership style of those in Healthcare Administration positions (CEO, CNE) followed the transformational or adaptive style.
I do believe the combination of the adaptive and followership approaches can work together to create a strong leadership path. Essentially, both approaches are follower-focused. Looking at adaptive leadership, the leader motivates their followers through change and growth to meet the challenges (Northouse, 2018). And with the followership approach, we directly look at how the followers accept the leader’s influence. In both approaches, the followers are empowered.
Practically speaking, this does apply to healthcare administration settings. For example, let’s say an organization is trying to reinvent its mission statement and values. The leader will create confidence in the followers by allowing room for feedback and giving space for them to voice their opinions. At the same time, the leader is influencing them to change their values at work by stirring up this idea; the leader is empowering them to change the perspective of their impact to something greater. The objective is to change the mission statement and values, and this is done so through (mainly) the followers’ influence (with the leader’s approval).
From the admin team’s perspective, most of the adaptive/followership leadership style is done through change and growth—which is why this combination is so applicable. For example, viewing patients as the adaptive follower, and the physician as the leader. The objective is to produce a better health outcome, which is done by having the patient change/grow through the medicine/recommendation given by the doctor. That, in itself, is adaptive leadership; the leader focuses on the needs of the follower (Northouse, 2018). This could also be viewed as relational-based followership, where the followership approach is co-created by the follower and leader; specifically, how they influence each other over a health matter at a checkup (Northouse, 2018).
According to Larson and Gray (2014), a virtual project team is a team in which the members are geographically situated so that they seldom, if ever, meet face-to-face as a team. One of the biggest challenges identified with managing a virtual project team is establishing trust (Larson and Gray, 2014). Trust is difficult to gain in the virtual world. When you are working alongside someone physically, you can be witness to what he or she is completing. Also, when working virtually it is difficult to form relationships and get to know who you are working with. Geographical separation also prohibits the informal social interactions that are often essential to building camaraderie among team members (Larson and Gray, 2014). Beyond the struggle of building trust within a virtual team, establishing effective patterns of communication can be extremely difficult (Larson and Gray, 2014). Even in today’s world with all the different communication systems and technology, overcoming problems of different time zones, cultural nuances, and finding a convenient time for everyone is almost impossible.
Of these two challenges, I think establishing effective patterns of communication is the most difficult to overcome. Trying to form an effective pattern of communication across different time zones is extremely difficult, and time zones are not something that can be change. Same with cultural nuances, these are external factors we do not have control over. As a project manager, there are some ways to overcome these barriers. For example, choosing a “home” time and having team members work different times depending on the time zone. So if there is an international project team, and the “home” time is the east coast, then team members in Europe might work 12pm-8pm and team members on the west coast may work 7:30am-3:30pm. As a project manager, you can create a team calendar that shows the time zone everyone is in and what hours they are working in relation to the “home” time. Another way to form effective patterns of communication is to make sure everyone is sharing and collaborating work, not saving work where no one else can access it. Asynchronous communication is also important for virtual project teams because if a problem were to arise for a remote person, they could be solved by either leaving messages or syncing up their time with who they need to talk to for a couple of hours one day (Dealing with time zones in a remote team, 2016).
“Two of the biggest challenges involved in managing a virtual project team are establishing trust and developing effective patterns of communication” (Larson & Gray, 2014). Trust is earned, and to earn trust through a virtual project team is dependent on the team members being honest with each other. Trust is also harder to earn when you haven’t met each other. Communication between team members can become difficult when people are in different time zones/regions of the world. Even an hour difference can throw off the efficiency of communication.
I think these two challenges are actually reactive to each other; to trust each other on the virtual project team, the team should have effective communication, and vice versa. This doesn’t always apply, but it’s a good start. So, I believe trusting each other on a team is more difficult to overcome. To establish trust, I would try to have routine tele-meetings to check in with the team collectively. Another way I could help in establishing trust is by having a platform in which we all check in as tasks of the project are complete. This shared doc (for example) could represent the “proof” needed to show that “they have done their part.”