Posts Tagged ‘healthcare emergency management’

Defining and Developing Leadership in Healthcare Emergency Management

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Author: Erin Downey MPH, ScD, Senior Health Systems Analyst, IEM 

The word ‘leadership’ is used liberally. We see it used in reference to managers, directors, and decision-makers, and its meaning is frequently “person in charge” or “person responsible.” In healthcare emergency management – and particularly when a disaster occurs that has tested a community’s response system – scrutiny of the response begins with evaluating the leadership of the affected community. Any perceived leadership strengths or weaknesses will be immediately and severely criticized in the media. Action documentation will use ‘leadership’ in the sense of the word described above; rarely, however, do we see language consistently associated with this kind of leadership in healthcare emergency management and more often than not we see contradictions in how the term is defined[i]. 

But we know it when we experience it. 

Fortunately leadership theory provides definitions of leadership and allows us to identify behavioral characteristics—associated with task effectiveness—to aid our use of the term[ii]. Many of these characteristics transcend fields, cultures, gender, organizational structure, and national boundaries. This allows emergency healthcare management professionals to examine leadership, via observation of individual leadership style, as we would in other industries, e.g., banking, oil exploration, mining.  (more…)