Title of ArticlePartnering for performance in situational leadership: a person-centred leadership approach
Type of ArticleSpecial Issue Paper
Author/sBrighide Lynch
ReferenceVolume 5, Special Issue on Person-centredness, Article 5
Date of PublicationSeptember 2015
KeywordsCulture change, situational leadership, person-centred care, partnering for performance, residential care, leadership behaviour

Background: Although the endorsement of a leadership approach that will change the culture of care for older people in nursing homes is a key national issue in several countries including the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the US, few robust studies exist that explore the correlation between transformational leadership and effective nursing care in long-term facilities for older people. Working from the premise that transformational leadership is situational leadership enacted within a person-centred framework, a composite model of situational leadership in residential care was developed. This model subsequently forms the theoretical basis for the author’s action research doctoral programme evaluating the role of situational leadership in facilitating culture change in the practice setting of long-term care for older people.

Aims and objectives: The situational leader’s person-centred approach of partnering the follower to improve their performance brings into play the key components of diagnosis, flexibility and various coaching and supportive leadership behaviours. This paper describes these components and discusses how the model of situational leadership in residential care can be operationalised in practice through the process of ‘partnering for performance’.

Conclusions: The situational leader diagnoses the performance, competence and commitment of the follower, is flexible in leadership style and partners the follower for performance, taking them through the developmental levels in order to manage the care environment and deliver person-centred care.
Implications for practice development:

  • The ‘partnering for performance’ process emphasises the importance of the situational leader’s role as facilitator in developing the follower and has the capacity to support the process of continuous learning within the care environment
  • The facilitated approach to self-reflection adopted by the situational leader enables the follower to deepen their understanding and self-awareness through reflexivity
  • Engagement in a critical reflective process is fundamental to the development of a person-centred philosophy
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