Skills Inventory for Health Care Leaders

To manage complex health care organizations, administrators must utilize complementary skills. Their responsibilities and demands are vast and require commitment as they fulfill different roles daily. Management expert Henry Mintzberg recognized this and argued there are 10 primary roles or behaviors used to categorize a manager’s different functions. The 10 roles are:

  1. Figurehead
  2. Leader
  3. Liaison
  4. Monitor
  5. Disseminator
  6. Spokesperson
  7. Entrepreneur
  8. Disturbance handler
  9. Resource allocator
  10. Negotiator

Which one do you feel is closest to your role as an administrator?

In general, leadership is difficult. Administrators must commit to managing organizations with honesty and integrity. Information must be gathered and processed, problems must be solved and competing interests have to be satisfied. A leader riddled with self-doubt is rarely able to take the necessary actions or command the respect of others.

Here are some additional skills that health care administrators must incorporate into their toolkit:

  • Accounting and Finance Knowledge

Accounting is the language of business. Accounting processes are about recording, classifying, reporting and interpreting economic data of an organization. This data is important to health care administrators, managers, investors, governing boards and other stakeholders. A leader’s responsibilities include creating budgets, planning spending projections for future years and recommending investments in new equipment.

  • Statistics Knowledge

Statistics are numerical data collected from measurements or observations describing characteristics of specific population samples. Statistics are important to administrators in measuring performance success or failure and measuring health outcomes.

  • Decision Making Abilities

With many economic, legal, ethical, organizational and technical changes taking place, managerial decision-making has a direct impact on individuals and performance of organizations.

  • Strategic Planning

Strategic planning must be established to position organizations in a rapidly changing environment. Planning properly enables choice about the organization’s future. Choice concerns organizational vision and mission, goals to be pursued and resources needed such as people, facilities, technology, money and knowledge.

  • Team-building Skills

No matter how talented people are, unless they can function together efficiently the organization suffers. In organizations, everyone plays different roles. However, they work in harmony for the good of the organization.

  • Political Savvy

Workplace politics are present in all organizations. Avoiding or ignoring politics limits the organization and the administrator’s professional career. Political skill is defined as the ability to understand and influence others for organizational benefit. CEO’s and other senior-level managers influence public policy environments of organizations at many levels.

  • Knowledge of Industry and Trends

Knowledge of industry trends assist administrators in making better decisions, spot threats or opportunities and focus on things that wouldn’t be focused on, which provides a competitive edge. This is important for administrators contributing to shaping the organization’s strategy.

  • Adaptability to Innovative New Technologies

With the accelerating pace of technological change, administrators find themselves rushing to keep up with new software, programs and technological processes implemented in the workplace. The use of technology in health care organizations is fundamental to its future.

  • Professional Associations

Joining professional associations give a head start in the field and provide resources throughout a career. Associations can offer access to certifications, continuing education and opportunities otherwise not available. Joining professional association gives a competitive advantage because administrators become active and informed members within their industry.


Submitted by Michael Popejoy

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