The Importance of Leadership and Management in Healthcare Industry

Olayemi Mary Adeola
6 min readJul 6, 2020


Four years ago, I was a fresh nursing graduate, with no clarity, or vision. I just wanted to be a registered nurse, a few years later, I realized there are quite a several problem in the healthcare industry, and nurses wouldn’t be able to solve all of those problems.

No doubt, young nurses are encouraged to be good leaders; take up voluntary courses to maximize leadership skills, while older nurses are encouraged to educate younger nurses, hopefully, the trend, “nurses eat their young” would end.

Contrary to popular opinions, I think that we lack adequate leadership and management in the Nigerian healthcare system.

For a start, many of our leaders are self-acclaimed; with tons of revolution before the election, and few months in power, they suddenly stop smiling at their colleagues. Using the nursing and Midwifery Council as a case study, many times leaders are selected, by politics, popularity, and geographical location. Whereas, in a healthy institution, elections should be carried out. I believe that this is the trend in most healthcare institutions, professionals are selected to hold a position, not necessarily because they have the capacity, but because of other reasons. Over time, I have always wondered why we have several problems in the Nigerian healthcare industry. I have always asked why nurses, and other healthcare providers go on strike yearly, why there is no equality in numeration among healthcare professionals.

For four years, I had a list of unanswered questions, and each of these questions were properly answered one after the other in the Leadership and Management in Health course by the University of Washington. My goal for the year 2020 is to build enough capacity as a writer, and public health advocate. On the quest to capacity development, I found the Leadership And Management in Health course, by the University of Washington, and the rest today is history.

During the 12 weeks course, I discovered that leaders cannot be taught, the same way you teach students. As a matter of no one walks into leadership, and becomes a leader in a day. Leadership is a journey. It is a journey of clarity, discovery, accountability, conflict, transparency.

Here are five major lessons I learnt from the course.

1. Leadership and Management are different, but they are interwoven.
Drucker, the father of modern management said, “Leadership is doing the right thing, and management is doing it right.”
Simply put, not all leaders are great managers, but great managers will be great leaders.

Leadership and management is a critical skill in the healthcare industry, it affects the delivery of health services.

Photo source: BMJ Global Health

According to the World Health Organization, there are six system blocks to healthcare frame; service delivery, health workforce, information, product and technology, financing, and leadership and governance.

If for any reason, any of these blocks are missing, the healthcare system will be disrupted.

Sadly, the Nigerian healthcare system lacks virtually all of these six system blocks.

2. Learn to lead from the back. Growing up, I used to think leadership was similar to the choreography dance I participated in as a child. There was always a cheerleader at the front who knew the dance steps, while the rest of the crew followed.

Little did I know that leadership does not literarily mean standing in front to lead.

In this case, leading from the back simply means, having a full knowledge of everything that is going on.

Have you ever walked into a manager’s office with the TV screen showing different scenes from the company? That is similar to watching from the back.

It is also means having a foresight of whatever is going on, carrying everyone along.

3. Leaders should embrace conflict.

I grew up in a family where my parents never loved conflict, and I was the gentle, and emotional girl. The girl who cried over everything, and anything. Due to my emotional state, I hated conflict, I hated argument to start with.

When I started working as a nurse, I realized the only way to promote your client’s health is not far from conflicting. And I had my share of having conflict with doctors, but to some extent both parties solved the problems without a third party. On the other hand, I had colleagues who always had conflict with doctors, and I wondered why. Was the doctor unfriendly, or unprofessional? Was my colleague noisy?

Well, I discovered that conflict is inevitable, and conflict management is the only way out.

There are different ways to manage conflict; collaboration, competition and others.

It is your duty to find out what is best for you, and you must also consider the kind of conflict at hand.

4. Leadership is understanding.

I recently applied for a freelance job, and first thing I was asked to do after I was contacted was to undergo a personality test.

I was ‘wowed’, apparently, the individual wanted to have a grasp of who I am, what I am, and how I react to work.

I think this principle should be applied to leadership in healthcare. Take time to study your colleagues, and followers. What are there biggest problems? What are their strength? What are their weaknesses?

Understanding is crucial. Learn to understand the systems you belong to.

Every hospital runs differently, Lagos state has a different healthcare policy, from Abuja, or Port Harcourt, take time to understand the systems.

Here is a scenario:

In my second year as a nurse, the hospital employed a new doctor, who was vibrant, and full of life. But, there was a problem, he wanted the hospital to run like a sole proprietor business. I and my colleague eventually found out that his past workplace were owned by one person, where he was most likely the only doctor around, with few nurses to work under him receiving instructions. That was a huge problem for him. When I understood where he was coming from, I knew how to react towards him.

We all have different cultural background, and mindset, you must understand the kind of system thinking every of your team members operate in.

5. Effective communication is key.

There should be a great level of communication between a doctor and a nurse, whether it is written, or verbal.

Effective communication also helps stakeholders understand the struggles in the healthcare industry.

Managers and leaders should always communicate with others.

I attended the live webinar of Mrs. Kemi, the commissioner of Health II in Lagos state, she laid emphasis on effective communication skills amidst nurses, which is also important for other healthcare providers.

Leadership and management in health is a great skill you should acquire. And the LMIM course should be added to your cart list. It is 12 weeks course, with 11 modules. Each module comes with a quiz, and you are expected to submit three written assignment within the space of 12 weeks, and on the 12th week, you are supposed to submit a persuasive speech with a PowerPoint slides and video embedded in it.

You can enroll for this professional course for as low as N12,000 as a site participant at Pneumat Health Services.

Registration deadline: 15/July/2020

• The course is completely online

• Hardcopy certificate will be available at the end of the course

• Interaction with other students

What are you still waiting for?

Enroll today!

Call 0703-783-3735 for your registration.

As far as you desire it, you can always have it.



Olayemi Mary Adeola

Branding and marketing strategist. I help businesses boost their revenue, reach their target audience through effective marketing strategies.