Developing Interview Questions
What is your academic qualification? This question is common among beginning interviews of this nature. It seeks to establish the scholarly achievements of the respondent. In the context of leadership, it seeks to establish whether there is any relationship between scholarly excellence and professional work or theory and practice.
Kindly give me a brief background of your professional practice and experience: This question is geared towards knowing whether the leader being interviewed has past experience in healthcare leadership and the extent of this experience. It is expected that a leader in healthcare must have had impressive professional record.
How do you give back to the society? Today, corporate social responsibility is inevitable for organizations. This question will establish various ways through which the healthcare organization is involved in the community support. The interviewer will also ask the leader about his or her personal contributions to the society.
How do you deal with health workers’ strikes? The objective of this question is to establish the leadership skills and styles that the leader applies in times of the crisis. It will be established whether the leader takes rigid positions, whether he or she takes sides with employees or whether he takes side with the employer or the management.
How do you solve grudges among employees? The aim of this question is to establish the process of problem-solving within the healthcare organization. Borkowski (2010) observes that effective problem-solving processes in healthcare motivate workers a great deal; it curtails possibilities of employees’ strikes.
Does your organization have any mentorship programs? Please explain: Specifically, this question establishes whether the institution has partnerships with universities and colleges of health sciences. The leader will explain how the health professionals assist students in discovering and realizing their aspirations.
What is your organization’s philosophy? Organizational philosophy is simply a way of doing things within an organization. In most cases, the philosophy of an organization is grounded on its core values. It entails core beliefs of an organization. The aim of this question is to diversify ways of establishing the organizational behavior of the healthcare institution. It is expected that all answers will be in line with the culture practiced in the organization.
How possible is it to achieve your organization’s vision? Do you think there are enough challenges? The aim of this question is to know whether the leader is optimistic or pessimistic.
What are your thoughts on hostile leadership? This question is an indirect way of establishing whether the leader has ever been hostile to his or her minors in the healthcare environment.
In terms of motivation, satisfaction and productivity of employees, what comments do you have regarding the best leadership style? This question will lead to the profiling of the leader on the basis of his or her approach to leadership.
Part II: Interviewing the Chief Medical Officer (CMO)
Summary of Findings
a) Leadership Styles of the Leader
During the interview, it was important to seek views from the leader regarding the best leadership style. This includes leadership in general and specific contexts in healthcare management. The interviewer was to establish how the leader uses situational leadership contingency theory to satisfy needs of employees and motivate them towards increasing the service delivery.
Healthcare is a dynamic field that is punctuated with aspects of stressful work. Moreover, in the course of working, some employees may not perform their duties as expected. Therefore, it is crucial for the leader to be a transformational one. On the contrary, the interviewer was able to establish that the CMO was a transactional leader. This is the type of leader who focuses not on processes but on relationships. In other words, transactional leaders do not focus on the needs of employees but on the achievement of goals. The CMO did not compromise on anything less than expected results.
To demonstrate the transactional nature of his leadership, the CMO explained how he sets targets for workers. Depending on the nature of one’s specialty, each health professional has a minimum number of patients or clients he or she must attend to. To further illustrate this, the CMO explains how the information system of the healthcare institution monitors work output by each employee. The Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) at the Boston Medical Center clarifies how the new method of electronic record keeping was able to link all Boston area community health centers with the hospital. This led to micro-management of physicians which led to a resistance. Furthermore, the latent strictness and hostility of the CMO led to a number of employee strikes within the year.
An optimistic leader is the person who sees possibilities while a pessimist sees impossibilities. The leader was asked to give examples of optimistic ways of achieving the vision. The interviewer was to determine whether the leader is pessimistic depending on how much weight he accorded to challenges that obstruct the achievement of the vision. The CMO asserted that he had already commissioned the development of a networking system that would track times that workers arrived at work or left office. This was an evidence of a transactional leader who would rather use technology to supervise employees.
b) Leadership Style Compared to Leadership Theories
As it has been mentioned, it was possible to know that the CMO was a transactional leader. This is illustrated not only by his insisting on the delivery of results, but also by his strictness with deadlines. The CMO believed that if all decisions were left into hands of the junior staff, the hospital would not perform well. However, this is contrary to the best management practices of the time. Today, efficiency and effectiveness in management is achieved through the involvement of key stakeholders in decisions of the institution; especially those that entail their participation. Due to the CMO’s leadership style, employees were not motivated. They worked in a constant fear that the CMO may recommend their suspension. His style did not have personalized consideration for each employee but viewed them as performers and non-performers.
In explaining some of leadership styles, authors have put forward various theories. However, although there are many theories explaining the myriad of leadership styles, one of them best explains the CMO’s way of doing things. This theory is ‘the great man’ theory of leadership. The theory views leaders as people who hold the monopoly of knowledge and are always right. In this model, all decisions in an organization are made by one person. These decisions are not to be questioned by any minor. It is either one follows stipulations or is eliminated from the process. This explains why workers were afraid that the CMO could initiate their removal from the office. The interview revealed that the leader would not even use any of the contingency theories of leadership. To him, all situations were the same and required the same amount of pressure. Therefore, concepts of situational leadership were not applicable in this case.
c) Addressing Organizational Behavior Issue
The leader was committed to ensure that the health institution adopted a culture of timely delivery of perfect results. This was to be achieved in various ways. The first one was strict monitoring of absenteeism. This was not tolerated at all. Through information technology, the leader was able to initiate the installation of a system that tracked how employees worked. It also took note of times that employees arrived at work or left their stations or offices. Secondly, the CMO introduced an application that would track the work output of each employee. All satellite health centers were networked with the main hospital. This meant that none of the employees, whether at the main medical centre or satellite centers, would be able to perform duties in his or her own style.
Although the intended organizational culture was decent, it led to maladaptive organizational behavior. This is because employees were not involved in relevant decision-making processes. This led to various outcomes, as outlined below.
Following this strictness, there were both positive and negative outcomes. However, negative outcomes outweighed positive ones. Perhaps, the only positive outcome was the fact that more work was accomplished. Physicians were able to attend many patients at the expense of their morale. In addition, the CMO’s style of leadership led to the resistance on the part of employees. Overall, the institutional morale went down. As a result, employees demonstrated demanding for his removal from the office and be replaced with another chief medical officer.
According to Kilgalon and Thompson (2012), organizations in all sectors should create situations of professional development of younger practitioners. In the healthcare context, this category also includes helping new institutions to establish decent management systems, as well as partnering with universities and health colleges to mentor students of health sciences. However, due to the style of the leader, mentoring was not a priority item; beating deadlines was. This would lead to a health institution without corporate social responsibility and a succession plan in terms of training of students.