5 Ways To Develop Important Healthcare Leadership Skills

Healthcare leadership skills are unique because of the medical profession’s patient-centered nature. Developing skills that will help you lead effectively in healthcare settings can be done in a number of ways.

Keep reading to find out how you can improve and develop these skills throughout your career.

While some believe the best of the best are natural-born leaders, the truth is that effective leadership is a skill you can learn and enhance – and it’s possible for anyone.

Before we dive into our healthcare skills list, let’s begin by defining leadership. According to BusinessDictionary.com, leadership involves:

  • establishing a clear vision,
  • sharing that vision with others so that they will follow willingly,
  • providing the information, knowledge, and methods to realize that vision, and
  • coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members and stakeholders.

A leader steps up in times of crisis and is able to think and act creatively in difficult situations.

Now that you have a clear picture of leadership and its styles, let’s focus on the healthcare aspect.

Healthcare Leadership Development

What are some of the job-related responsibilities healthcare leaders are expected to handle?

Here are just a few:

  • Developing policies and procedures
  • Evaluating staff
  • Facility management
  • Human resources management, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, firing
  • Manage performance and service goals
  • Increasing productivity
  • Operations management
  • …and so much more.

Leaders in healthcare are expected to perform at an increasingly high level because of their chosen profession. When the health and wellbeing of countless patients relies on you and your team’s ability to work effectively, the pressure is on.

So how do you become a great leader…and how do you continue to hone those skills as the years go by?

Let’s dive in.

5 Important Healthcare Leadership Skills For Career Growth

1. Find Non-Work Related Leadership Opportunities

There are a number of ways to practice your healthcare leadership skills outside of work.

Consider these options:

  • Join a professional development group
  • Volunteer at charitable organizations
  • Work on your hobby or passion project (in a group setting)
  • Take up a sport

In any of these scenarios, you will have opportunities to lead others while supporting them through various situations.

2. Seek Out Learning Opportunities

It’s true that you “learn something new every day,” and when it comes to honing your leadership skills, that should definitely be the case.

Between on-the-job learning, online courses, professional conferences and informative articles, there are seemingly endless opportunities for you to learn more about leadership on a daily basis.

3. Keep a Leadership Notebook

Did you know that regular journaling brings leadership-based benefits? These are some proven results:

  • Journaling regularly takes discipline – an important skill to master for all leaders.
  • Writing down your goals helps keep you accountable.
  • Journaling forces you to engage in your thoughts (mindfulness) making you less reactive and more proactive.
  • Your memory and comprehension skills sharpen when you write.
  • Writing and intelligence are connected. The more you write, the better.

4. Practice Your Communication Skills Regularly

Great leadership is inextricably tied to great communication – and perhaps the most important communication skill to master is one that doesn’t require any speaking at all. Learning to listen is hard for many people as our natural instinct is to prepare a reply or rebuttal, especially when we are being disagreed with, but it can prevent miscommunication and unresolved disagreements.

Separately, strong communication skills ensure you can inspire those who are naturally drawn to your leadership style. Communicating positive reinforcement regularly goes a long way when it comes to maintaining strong relationships with your team. You want to have wide open lines of communication as often as possible to keep your team feeling in the loop and appreciated.

5. Take a Leadership Personality Test

There are a number of leadership personality tests you can take (and retake, because you will inevitably evolve). These tests are designed to help you understand who you really are as a leader.

Knowing the type of leader you are is an important element of growing in your role. As mentioned, your experience through the years will help you to evolve over time. Making time to review your leadership style once a year (give or take) is a powerful way to stay in tune with where you are vs. where you were.

Take a look at five tests you can take to determine your leadership personality:

  1. DISC Profile
  2. Maxwell Leadership Assessment
  3. StrengthsFinder
  4. Myers & Briggs
  5. Psychology Today

Some tests are more in-depth than others. If you are looking for a deep dive, we recommend number one or four. If you are interested in a more laid-back approach, try number five.

Healthcare Skills List

Last but not least, we’ve accumulated a list of must-haves when it comes to healthcare leadership skills. In fact, you will see that this list applies to leadership in most any industry!

  • Problem solver
  • Strong time management skills
  • Collaborative
  • Adaptable personality
  • Organized
  • Strong written and verbal communicator
  • Critical thinker
  • Able to prioritize
  • Fosters cooperation
  • Can influence others
  • Inspiring
  • Decision maker
  • Strong multitasker
  • Motivates others
  • Pays attention to detail
  • Shows tact

Mastering these skills doesn’t happen overnight, but you will be able to achieve them. And be sure to add them to your professional resume to stand out!

To do your very best, follow the five guidelines outlined earlier in this article, and you’ll find a noticeable change in your leadership style.


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