Public Health Leadership Attributes Theology Religion Essay Example
Public Health Leadership Attributes Theology Religion Essay Example

Public Health Leadership Attributes Theology Religion Essay Example

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  • Pages: 12 (3271 words)
  • Published: November 2, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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[ 1 ] Public health needs a new type of leaders to thrive in a flatter, more distributed, and collaborative world. These leaders must possess diverse viewpoints, be receptive to innovation and interdisciplinary cooperation, and exhibit excellent political acumen.

Kimberly JR

10.1. Introduction

Public wellness is a constantly evolving field, with new challenges and forces that require agility and creativity to protect our communities. High performance and flexibility are not just useful traits; they are daily survival requirements for public health. Public health has improved its ability to adapt quickly and adjust in a changing environment.
[ 2 ]
Recent developments in the field have emphasized that public health leaders should: demonstrate transparency, integrity, and honesty in all actions; apply social justice and human rights principles when addressing comm


unity needs; and engage in dialogue and learning from others to advance public health goals.

These topics are discussed in Sections 2 through 4.

10.2. Integrity, Honesty, and Transparency

According to a [3], the most crucial trait people seek in their leaders is honesty. It is essential for followers to have faith that their leaders will consistently prioritize their well-being.

To be effective, leaders must prioritize unity and honesty. These qualities are influenced by personal and organizational values. It is important for each leader to identify their own values, and for organizations to establish and commit to their values. With multiple potential values to choose from, it is crucial to prioritize foundational values that will shape the rest. Emphasizing these values through conversations, actions, and dialogues within the organization is essential.

Webster's dictionary defines unity as a strong attachment to a set of values or the state of being

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complete and undivided. Integrity, on the other hand, is consistent behavior that aligns with an individual or organization's values system. Trust is built when leaders show their upheld values, even in challenging situations. When leaders maintain integrity and honesty based on their values, these qualities will spread throughout the organization.



The role of human resources direction is crucial in fostering a culture of unity and honesty [5]. This includes recruiting new employees with a focus on unity, modeling unity in various aspects such as selection, evaluation, promotion, and rewards within the organization, and taking disciplinary actions against those who violate these values. Transparency is not just an action, but a process. Both leaders and organizations striving for transparency not only refrain from hiding information but also proudly declare their actions and operations. However, this can only be achieved if leaders and organizations demonstrate integrity and honesty. Additionally, transparency also strengthens unity and honesty. According to Stephen Covey [6], trust is not only the foundation of all relationships but also the adhesive that holds organizations together.

Trust is the binding force that unites individuals and organizations. It derives from trustworthiness and is established through personal interactions, institutional relationships, and deliberate acts of giving trust to others. This act of trust builds the belief that one can contribute value. Trust functions both as a verb and a noun, representing a shared and reciprocal bond between people.

This is the basic principle of how someone becomes a team leader. They gain trust by granting it. A trustworthy organization will keep its commitments. People will follow through with their words and do so consistently.

Trust is only attained with unity.

Transparent leaders who consistently align their words and actions gain people's faith, making them the most effective. A strong foundation of principles gives rise to integrity.

Acting with unity means remaining consistent with choices and actions, which requires personal bravery to uphold values in both easy and difficult circumstances (Covey, 2005). Principle-centered leadership involves humility and courage rooted in unity, leading to power, wisdom, and guidance. In the public health sector, leaders must demonstrate integrity and ethics by being honest in their interactions with the public, colleagues in their organizations, collaborating partners, and the media.

Leaders must prioritize unity to achieve optimal public performance by fostering collaboration in important decision-making processes and everyday situations that impact individuals. Although the fields of social justice, health equity, and human rights have their own distinct concepts and perspectives, they also share common ground. The Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) has identified a social gradient where lower socioeconomic status is associated with poorer health outcomes. To address these disparities as a matter of social justice and close the gap in health inequalities and life opportunities within three decades, it is necessary to confront these inequities directly.

Inequities in access to healthcare, education, work conditions, and opportunities for a prosperous life stem from an unequal distribution of power, income, goods, and services at both global and national levels. It is crucial to acknowledge that such disparities are not natural occurrences but rather arise from unjust policies, economic agreements, and political relations that create an unfavorable situation.

The determinants of societal health are influenced by both structural factors and daily life conditions. These factors collectively contribute to health inequalities within countries as well

as between them.

The Final report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) titled "Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health," was published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2008 (Geneva, Switzerland). The report can be accessed at the following link: Health equity relies not only on social determinants of health such as daily living conditions, unequal distribution of power, money, and resources, gender, poverty, and social exclusion but also on other factors including access to safe water, adequate sanitation, nutritious food and housing, healthy work and environmental conditions, and health-related education and information.

Having a comprehensive comprehension of the determinants of health in their particular context is essential for public health leaders. Although the influence of social inequality on health is widely acknowledged, there has been less research conducted on the reciprocal relationship. At present, endeavors are focused on evaluating to what degree policies related to water and sanitation, food security, targeted nutrition interventions, and primary healthcare can alleviate the consequences of social injustice. There are differing viewpoints on whether these policies primarily benefit wealthy individuals or genuinely meet the needs of marginalized communities. Nonetheless, it can be argued that indicators of health equity can provide valuable insights into societal injustices.

Article 12.2 (B) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [9] outlines four steps that State parties must take to achieve the "highest attainable standard of physical and mental health" in relation to human rights: reducing stillbirth and infant mortality rates and promoting healthy child development; improving environmental and industrial hygiene; preventing, treating, and controlling diseases; and ensuring access

to medical services in case of illness.

This approach focuses on the responsibilities of the state as well as assessing their fulfillment, with people considered as "claim-holders" and service providers as "duty-bearers".

The human rights community addresses underlying determinants of health but with a narrower scope compared to the CSDH report's emphasis on social determinants.

While healthcare is important for human rights considerations, it is just one aspect among other social determinants according to the CSDH report.

Additionally, there is a distinction between health inequalities and health unfairness.

The assessment of cause and equity cannot separate inequality in health outcomes. Nonetheless, according to the CSDH, if avoidable systematic disparities in health exist due to reasonable action at a global and societal level, they are considered unjust. This is commonly known as health inequality. In summary, health equity can be analyzed from four dimensions: universal access to healthcare.

Insufficient funds in many states hinder the establishment of comprehensive healthcare systems that can provide preventive services to all residents. Moreover, various barriers including informational, social, and physical obstacles further impede universal access. Despite progress made in combating communicable diseases through accessible healthcare and preventive public health services such as water and sanitation programs, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) present a significant threat. Projections suggest that by 2020, NCDs will comprise 60% of global illness cases and be accountable for seven out of ten deaths.

Individuals in developing countries face numerous challenges, such as rich diets, lack of physical activity, alcohol and tobacco use being the main risk factors. However, impoverished individuals also experience infection, inadequate food, pollution, and lack of basic healthcare. It is vital for the community to strongly advocate for prioritizing health. To effectively

meet the health needs of vulnerable populations, it is crucial to improve local capacity for accessing healthcare and other services while addressing additional factors affecting health. This becomes even more crucial in settings affected by natural disasters and emergencies.

Rights-based models can provide significant benefits for ensuring wellness services in various situations. The focus on human rights is centered around equality of dignity, legal standing, and legal position, rather than equality in social or economic status. The former may not necessarily result in the latter and vice versa. Non-discrimination, as a human right, can be a crucial aspect in promoting health equity.

The convergence and complementarity between societal justice, health equity, and human rights is significant. Although their concerns, approaches, and emphasis may vary, public health leaders concerned with health equity must pay closer attention to social determinants of health and underlying social injustices. They should be prepared to utilize legal human rights as outlined in the human rights framework to address these issues (Figure 1). Moreover, dialogue and learning are crucial for future leaders who need to adapt to the rapidly changing and increasingly complex field of public health.

Dialogue and Learning

The leader of the past was someone who knew what to say. The leaders of the future will be individuals who know how to ask questions. - Peter Drucker (source:

Public health leaders must keep up with the rapid changes and increasing complexity in the field of public health. Therefore, they need to continue learning.

They would need to receive feedback and request new ideas from a variety of stakeholders. The important sources of information would involve individuals and community leaders, leaders of other health

organizations, professionals in related sectors, researchers, and politicians. They can gather the feedback through various methods, such as direct and indirect contacts, social networking, surveys, and interpersonal dialogues. The public health agencies must become learning organizations.

[ 12 ]

The learning organisation requires leaders who will constantly learn, as Peter Drucker noted that individuals have various learning styles - through listening, reading, observing, experiencing, and reflecting[13]. They must identify the combination of these styles and organize their learning accordingly. However, there is a risk of information overload, so leaders must prioritize.

Public health leaders can enhance their personal leadership journey by selecting one to three key countries they wish to improve. They should then establish an action program, put it into practice, and collaborate with colleagues to evaluate the impact of the enhancements. Ultimately, future public health leaders will need to acquire knowledge, adjust approaches, and develop in their roles. They must engage with various stakeholders, seek input from others, respond constructively, and execute comprehensive action plans. This continuous process will increase their effectiveness. Effective communication is crucial for learning and encompasses both verbal and written exchanges between two or more individuals.

To achieve effective dialogue, it is essential to have mutual respect and a willingness to actively listen. This includes engagement from both parties and acknowledging that individuals bring different perspectives, opinions, knowledge, and skills that should be respected. Furthermore, dialogues should be conducted without any form of coercion or threat in order to maintain freedom.

To fully understand the importance of participating in a dialogue, each participant must acknowledge the benefits they will receive. For a public health leader, engaging in dialogue with the community, stakeholders

in the health sector, and other sectors that affect their work is vital. Effective dialogue leads to transformation for both parties involved and enables them to actively collaborate towards meaningful change as discussed in Chapter 12.

According to Stephen Covey (2005), dialogue is essential in building trust, apprehension, and empathy with others. Covey emphasizes the importance of understanding others first before seeking to be understood. He suggests that one should empathize with the perspectives and positions of the other party and verify that they have been correctly understood. This process can be repeated by the other participant as well. As a result, dialogue not only reduces misinterpretation and conflicts but also leads to effective ways of addressing issues. In summary, dialogue is valuable for fostering trust, resolving conflicts, promoting mutual understanding, encouraging collaborative problem-solving, and generating innovative solutions through collective action.

Effective listening is crucial for a leader to establish or strengthen interpersonal relationships with their followers, subordinates, and peers. It involves not only obtaining information but also actively listening and asking appropriate questions. This allows the speaker to feel understood and heard. The power of effective listening lies in the hands of the leader. So, what exactly is effective listening? It is a combination of active listening and asking insightful questions. These practices promote open communication of ideas and emotions between the listener and speaker.

Here are some helpful tips:



Your tools




Eyes' Expression at the individual who is talking. This shows you are interested in what he or she is stating, and also that you understand. Your body. Be aware of what your body is stating to the other individual. The body has a non-verbal language all of its own, and it can convey messages from openness and friendliness to hostility and distance. How does your body act when you are listening to someone? As a leader, you want your body language to show that you are open and welcoming of the speaker's message. Emotional vibes. Non-verbal communication. It is not difficult to get a sense of the emotional vibes the speaker is directing towards you. Is what he or she is stating being said in a calm, smooth manner or in an emotional, agitated manner? And what does that tell you about the speaker? Reflection. Summarizing what you have heard. It is useful to pause at appropriate moments to summarize the main points of what you have heard.

This indicates to the speaker that you have been paying attention and understood what was said.

Good Questioning



Open-ended inquiries: An example is: "What was the meeting like?" not "Did you go to the meeting?"

Probing inquiries: "What do you mean by women not being able to use the clinic?"

Clarifying inquiries: "Do you mean that services are underused due to the location of the clinic or the hours of operation?"

Ask for personal perspectives and feelings: "What do you think of the way the new guidance service for teenagers was introduced into the area?"

Ask for (and give) feedback: Ask for feedback after group work or discussion to evaluate whether the work

or discussion has been productive or completed satisfactorily.


Identify a person whom you believe is a good listener. Observe how he/she listens to other people and write down five characteristics:

1. ________________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________________
3. ________________________________________________________
4. ________________________________________________________
5. ________________________________________________________

The practice of silence is important for improving listening skills. Some actions include: hesitate a few seconds before answering someone, accept silence as a normal part of conversation.

Work to balance speech production and listening clip during conversation. Take a break from making eye contact for a minute to allow the other party to feel comfortable with silence.


Practice the above actions with five people you speak to in the office for a week. How do you observe their reaction and response to you? Has it improved the quality of the conversation and information you received? How to Listen Effectively[ 14 ]

An unwillingness to listen is very common among the multitude of poor leaders we have to deal with. And about 60 percent of all management problems stem from defective communications. Leaders have to learn to touch the hearts of people before they can ask for their hand.

To effectively understand the thoughts and emotions of individuals in the workplace, a director must strive to listen to their employees. By actively listening, the director creates a meaningful connection with their team and gains insight into their joys and concerns. Following the advice of British Earl Philip Stanhope, good leaders prioritize hearing their employees' stories over simply granting requests. Successful leaders go beyond conducting business transactions and invest time in getting to know each individual on a personal level. Ultimately, directors should aim to become the kind of leader that people are inspired to follow.


you tend to only pay attention to the information presented and not the person conveying it, it is highly recommended that you change your approach - take time to listen to your audience. Listen to your customers. Whether you are operating a business, a service, or an organization, you have people to interact with. These individuals are your biggest opportunity and should always be prioritized. Unhappy customers should always be a concern. If you are preoccupied with your own thoughts and fail to listen to their issues, complaints, and ideas, you will encounter difficulties.

The Cherokee, an American Red Indian Tribe, have a powerful saying, "Listen to the susurrations and you won't have to listen to the shriek." This means to pay attention to your rivals. While it may seem strange initially, as a leader, it is important not to base your actions solely on what others are doing. However, it is still crucial to listen and learn from them in order to improve.

Larry King, the American telecasting talk show icon, expresses his ideas in a pleading manner as he comments, "Every morning, I remind myself that nothing I say today will teach me anything. Therefore, if I want to learn, I must listen." King avoids the mistake made by others who view other organizations as competitors and only focus on building and protecting their own cause. They often forget to learn from what the other group is doing. So, it is important to listen to your mentors.

Every leader, no matter how advanced or experienced, can benefit from a wise mentor. Continuously learning and gaining insights from leaders with more experience is essential. If you

don't have a mentor, make it a priority to find one. As you embark on this journey, start by reading success stories from various fields - sports and media figures, government officials and entrepreneurs, politicians and scholars, scientists and philosophers. Enhancing Your Listening Skills. Are you a proficient listener or are you too preoccupied with your own endeavors? When was the last time you truly paid attention to others and actively listened to what they had to say? Go beyond capturing the main points; start listening not only to their words but also to their emotions, meanings, and nuances, if any.

Switch up your schedule by dedicating more time to listening to your followers, clients, competitors, and mentors. Show them more attention consistently, whether that be daily, weekly, or monthly. Make an effort to meet people on their turf.

Being a good listener entails finding common ground with others, whether they are your employees or clients. It is recommended to make a habit of asking at least four to five questions about the person as an individual during meetings, as this allows you to get to know them better and establish a stronger connection. Additionally, it is important to read between the lines and pay close attention to both the factual and emotional aspects of the conversations you have with people.

Sometimes, by paying attention and reading between the lines, you start to understand what is really happening. Try listening with your heart.

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