208120 Examining the Applicability of a Model of Transformational Leadership for Public Health Agencies

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 5:10 PM

Maureen P. Bezold, PhD, MPH , Lubar School of Business, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Brian Gittens, EdD , Virginia Tech, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Blacksburg, VA
Leadership training has been identified as one solution designed to reduce the shortage of public health workers (APHA, 2008). To this end a variety of leadership training institutes and initiatives have been implemented with great success. However leadership training tends to focus on mid and upper management. Transformational leadership, shown to be particularly useful at lower levels of small organizations, serves as a viable option for public health agencies seeking to develop leaders at all levels of the organization (Ling, Simsek, Lubatkin, & Veiga, 2008). Embracing new leadership paradigms can enhance public health agencies ability to recruit workers and implement successful succession planning efforts. The purpose of this work is to present a model of transformational leadership and explore the model's potential in a public health setting.

There is scant research on transformational leadership in public health settings however there is work being done in education and business management. Findings suggest the benefits of transformational leadership include reductions in occupational injuries, (Barling, Loughlin, & Kelloway, 2002), increases in workers' willingness to take on extra tasks (Nilsson, Hertting, Petterson, & Theorell, 2005), a positive impact on organizational performance (Ling, Simsek, Lubatkin, & Veiga, 2008).

Several suggestions offered are applicable in public health settings including creating cultures supportive of transformational leaders, recruiting applicants demonstrating transformational leadership characteristics, and involving all supervisory personnel in transformational leadership training (Ling, Simsek, Lubatkin & Viega, 2008).

Attracting a new generation of public health workers is vital in reducing the severe shortage of public health workers (Johnson, 2008). Employing a model of transformational leadership may assist in recruiting a young workforce favoring leaders who care for them as individuals and create environments in which others can actively contribute and take on leadership roles (Sessa, Kabacoff, Deal & Brown, 2007).

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the fundamentals transformational leadership. Evaluate the potential benefits of a model of transformational leadership for public health agencies. Identify, through structured sharing, leadership behaviors consistent with transformational leadership. Discuss the implications of transformational leadership in a public health setting.

Keywords: Professional Development, Leadership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Ph.D. in management, teaching management for 16 years, MPH, expereince working in public health departments
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.