Topic: Why must a leader be an expert in dealing with politics?
Leaders should be experts because governmental decisions impact individual and organizational agendas. For example, I work in the field of behavioral and mental health. Russel et al. (2016) explained that mental health counselors and social workers are core members of interdisciplinary team. More specifically, along with psychologist, each member of the interdisciplinary team collaborates for the greater good of servicing the client. However, one of the political culture issues behavioral healthcare professionals face, in many states, is the act of being selected second to social workers. Many clinicians and therapists can attest to countlessly having to advocate for their profession. Mental health counseling and social work share some similarities, but there are many differences as well. Mental health counselors are theoretically and clinically trained to assist individuals with mental health concerns. Social workers can counsel clients, but they’re more rooted in case management services. Those services are, predominantly, deal with the client’s current concerns. Whereas, mental health counselors help clients explore previous experiences and instances that may contribute to current concerns. Therefore, social workers are chosen because their services are not as time consuming as mental health counselors. This act is not in the best interest of the client, because many mental health concerns are not a quick fix. This pressing issue is a burden as mental illness is not receiving the appropriate acknowledgment, policy attention, or funding as it should (Tomlinson & Lund, 2012).
The aforementioned holds true to my state. Of course, many of my clients can benefit from the services that are provided by social workers. However, in my state, they address the “here and now”. The unfortunate thing is that the client’s present concerns stems from past experiences. Therefore, more time is needed to address those concerns. In the eyes of most governmental officials, more time means more money. As a result, many individuals who cannot afford the treatment they need are forced to receive whatever government officials deem necessary. Hence, the reason leaders should be knowledgeable in the area of politics. Governmental decisions can impact their organization.
Russell, H. F., Richardson, E. J., Bombardier, C. H., Dixon, T. M., Huston, T. A., Rose, J., Ullrich, P. M. (2016). Professional standards of practice for psychologists, social workers, and counselors in SCI rehabilitation. The journal of spinal cord medicine, 39(2), 127–145. doi:10.1080/10790268.2015.1119966
Tomlinson M., & Lund, C. (2012). Why Does Mental Health Not Get the Attention It Deserves? An Application of the Shiffman and Smith Framework. PLoS Med 9(2): e1001178. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001178
Having a leadership role is a major responsibility. Leaders want to ensure that they are well capable of being versatile. Having the ability to be flexible and balanced can assist leaders with being able to function and lead in any situation. It is vital for employees to feel secure in their leadership. One of the character traits needed to lead is critical thinking. Critical thinking skills can assist leaders in being able to make effective decisions. The ability to make effective decisions is imperative as conflict may arise within the organization. Leaders want to ensure that when making decisions within the organization, they are not just basing it on their personal agenda, but rather basing it on the benefit of the organization. It is imperative for leaders to avoid letting their political views or politics get in the way of effective leadership.
Brierton (2016) defined politics as the use of power to influence decision-making by implementing policies and laws in order to control resources. I believe it is important for leaders to be an expert in politics so he or she can know the ends and outs of politics. However, I do feel that just because you know politics does not mean you have to engage in that behavior. Being an expert of politics in leadership also grants the leader power to influence others. Leaders want to ensure that they are able to lead others and influence them, however, in the right direction. Knowing how to make moves as a leader would be an important factor. As I previously mentioned in the above paragraph, making decisions that would benefit the organization. This would include implementing policies and procedures that align with the organization’s vision and mission, for the benefit of the organization. It is important for leaders to be well rounded, dependable, an innovator, and an effective decision-maker. Operating out of a spirit of political power can be a downfall within an organization, depending on the situation, and how it was resolved.
Bolman, L.G. & Deal, T.E. (2017). Reframing Organizations, (6th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Brierton, J. T. (2016). Ethics and politics in school leadership : finding common ground. Rowman & Littlefield.