Healthcare organizations require leaders that combine knowledge of approaches and practices that contribute to improving people’s health and managerial competencies that contribute to the growth and continuous improvement of an establishment. Additionally, it is crucial to understand that the external environment of the industry evolves, requiring alterations in approaches that the authorities of an organization apply. This paper aims to analyze five critical skills that an executive should possess, a personal assessment, and an individual development plan to enhance current characteristics.
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Critical Leadership Competencies for Health Care Organizations
The healthcare industry in the US and around the world is undergoing significant changes due to the emergence of new approaches, practices, and alterations in patient preferences. According to Herd, Adams-Pope, Bowers, and Sims (2016), “change leadership, self-development, talent development, and team leadership” are the four primary competencies that a healthcare leader should possess, while Rubino, Esparza, and Chassiakos (2016) emphasize professionalism and communication skills (p. 217).
The National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) offers another approach to the issue through its NCHL Healthcare Leadership Competency Model. The current system consists of two blocks – action and enabling domains (“Health Leadership Competency Model 3.0™”, n.d.). The particular characteristics that a professional should have are boundary spanning, transformation, execution, relations, health system awareness and business literacy, self-development, and values.
Based on the reviewed literature it can be concluded that boundary spanning, transformation, self-awareness, relations, and values are the five crucial competencies for a healthcare leader because most scholars cite those in their work among other skills. The majority of the previously mentioned domains were transferred from the previous NCHL model, however, “boundary spanning was added to incorporate recent research in applied settings underscoring the critical importance of leaders’ management inter-departmental and inter-organizational relationships” (“Health Leadership Competency Model 3.0™”, n.d., para. 4).
The component implies that the primary factor that executives and managers should consider is the alterations in the external environment and evidence-based practices that can help them adjust their approaches. Lander (2016) states that healthcare leaders should integrate new approaches using science and varying care practices in their work to enable success. This implies transforming the existing practices using evidence-based strategies.
Another critical factor is transformation, which reflects the main domains that affect an organization’s operations. Transformation is necessary due to rapid changes that occur within the external environment of the industry. This factor is especially important for healthcare because of alterations in approaches, patient expectations, and regulations that may affect establishments. For instance, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) presents a new system of payment for services that companies such as Anthem have to follow. However, Japsen (2018) states that the majority of insurers were unable to profit from their new programs, which they created following the ACA. This example provides an understanding that leaders should be ready to carry out any changes to enable the success of their companies.
Self-awareness and development are among the essential components of any professional because it enables learning and growth. Lippincott (2018) states that self-awareness is a building block for emotional intelligence. Without it, other critical skills such as the ability to work within a team or emotional control cannot be adequately developed. Caldwell and Hayes (2016) state that this component helps leaders can empower themselves and their colleagues. Understanding personal characteristics are the first step toward improving those qualities and enhancing one’s leadership style, which can help personal development and ensure success.
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Relations are crucial because they determine the ability to communicate with colleagues and employees. It is impossible to have a successful outcome of the plan if the person does not understand the purpose of actions and the final goal. A leader should ensure that his or her employees are aware of the organization’s values and have an appreciation for their work. Moreover, Manion (2015) states that leadership can only exist in the context of an individual’s relationship with others. Therefore, an executive should communicate with personnel, both verbally and non-verbally to establish trust and agreement.
Values refer to aspects of personal, professional, and organizational that a leader should consider when making decisions. This component is especially crucial for the healthcare industry because many operations involve a thorough understanding of ethical standards and practices. For instance, for Anthem the emphasis is on helping communities and evolving by applying innovational approaches to healthcare. In general, the industry’s values highlight the importance of respect for the patients and the provision of services to people who need those.
Improper Leadership Implications
Leadership that lacks competencies that were described above can be ineffective and would not contribute to the overall success of an organization. Some of the characteristics describe the skills and knowledge that are crucial for any business. The inability to understand values that a healthcare establishment has can lead to misunderstandings with the personnel and patients. In conclusion, an individual should either possess or strive to develop the competencies that were described above because failure to do so would result in issues within the establishment.
Personal Leadership Gap Analysis
The STAR table in the Appendix reveals that there are several gaps between the current competencies and those that are defined by the NCHL and the external environment. The healthcare industry and Anthem, in particular, require leaders that can respond to changes and challenges appropriately. The following components need additional attention and development – relationship, execution, and business literacy competencies. While I was able to create offers for many projects, many of them were not approved for implementation.
The evaluation presented an understanding that components such as accountability, change management, orientation, and others can be considered as personal strengths. The identified areas of strength can help in further career advancement because they enable a leader to use previous experiences and create plans for future development by the external environment. Additionally, the managerial experience and past projects that were completed can help mitigate the weaknesses that the STAR examination revealed until those are not improved.
Individual Leadership Development Plan
Based on the gap analysis, it can be concluded that the following three areas of weakness should be improved – encouragement of others, collaboration, and indirect influence. Table 2 provides the leadership development plan that will be used to improve those areas. Each step of the procedure allows us to analyze the current work environment and assess valuable information that can be used to enhance specific characteristics. The research will enable improving knowledge on the topic of impact and project management. The list of methods can be used in citations that require using impact and influence until appropriate and easy to use approaches are located. Observation of others and communication with executives should provide real-life examples.
Table 2. Personal leadership development plan (created by the author).
|Competency||Action||Timeline||Alignment with industry standards||Performance indicators|
|Impact and influence||Research the topic of leader’s effect on employees; |
Create a list of methods that can be used to convince individuals;
Observe other managers identify their approach;
|2 weeks; |
|The factor will help take advantage of the opportunities that the external environment presents.||A cohesive report; |
List with at least three alternative approaches;
Notes on alternative methods;
|Collaboration||Examine current projects at Anthem that need additional personnel; |
Identify critical components that determine a successful collaboration;
Carry out a small project together with other managers and gather feedback;
|1 week; |
|The competency is crucial because both the healthcare industry and Anthem require leaders to locate new approaches and work with other teams or companies.||Enroll in a project; |
A list of components;
Successfully finish the project;
|Project management||Locate relevant literature on the topic; |
Communicate with senior executives to identify which particular areas should be the focus;
Enroll in a project management course;
|1 week; |
|Anthem currently is preparing a new program that would enable clients to use the advantages of the ACA. This action will require managers to execute several projects and monitor their success. Participating in an educational course will provide the necessary knowledge for a leader.||A list of literature; |
Notes regarding advice from managers;
Certificate from the course;
Overall, the healthcare industry and Anthem require a leader that can execute change and ensure the success of operations. The five crucial components for a healthcare organization leader are boundary spanning, transformation, self-awareness, relations, and values. The gap analysis identified that domains of execution and relations require additional attention and development. Based on this information, a leadership development plan was created to enhance three characteristics – project management, collaboration, and impact and influence.
Caldwell, C., & Hayes, L. A. (2016). Self-efficacy and self-awareness: Moral insights to increased leader effectiveness. Journal of Management Development, 35(9), 1163-1173. Web.
Health Leadership Competency Model 3.0™ now available! (2018). Web.
Herd, A. N., Adams-Pope, B. L., Bowers, A., & Sims, B. (2016). Finding what works: Leadership competencies for changing healthcare environment. Journal of Leadership Education, 15(4), 217-233. Web.
Japsen, B. (2018). Shift from Obamacare to Medicare advantage boosts Anthem profits. Forbes. Web.
Lander, B (2016). Boundary-spanning in academic healthcare organisations. Research Policy, 45(8), 1524-1533. Web.
Lippincott, M. (2018). Effective leadership starts with self-awareness. Web.
Manion, J. (2015). The leadership relationship. Part I: Understanding trust. Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, 30(2), 153-156. Web.
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Rubino, L. G., Esparza, & S. J., Chassiakos, Y. (2019). New leadership for today’s health care professionals (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Barlett Learning.
Table 1. STAR analysis (created by the author).
|NCHL Competency||Situation||Task||Action||Result||Outcome rating 1 – (worst) 5 – (best)|
|Accountability: Confront |
|The senior manager of my department forgot about the customer’s complaint regarding technical issues with billing software.||I was responding to the client’s request, however, was unable to contact the software company directly.||I ensured that the manager is aware of the problem and asked if I can resolve it myself by calling the software organization.||The manager provided me with contact information to ensure that I can speak to the company in person.||5|
|Achievement Orientation: |
Set and work to meet challenging goals
|Legislative changes required adjustments in the operations and financial spending of my department.||I had to create a plan for enhancing financial performance for my department and a scorecard for monitoring outcomes of operations.||I collected the information, created a plan that involved quality improvement and cost reduction through reducing time spent on additional tasks.||The department performed well following the scorecard results in the first year of implementation.||4|
|Change Leadership: |
Change the status quo
|Due to the suspension of the ACA program, some of Anthem’s patients were unable to receive services.||A program designed to inform clients regarding other options and provide support was required to mitigate adverse outcomes.||I wrote the outline for the project, including specific information that should be provided to customers and responses to typical questions.||The information was placed on the company’s website, and employees were able to consult multiple patients regarding their options via phone.||5|
|Collaboration: Encourage others |
|In the first year of the managerial position, I needed to convince the team to cooperate on creating a new action plan for client support.||The employees had the experience of talking to clients and resolving issues, which would help create an online knowledge base for the company.||I assembled a meeting to explain the purpose and goal of this idea.||While at first, most staff members were eager to help, over several weeks the motivation for work was not present.||3|
|Financial Skills |
|As part of my daily tasks, I was responsible for checking the billing forms of Anthem’s clients.||The work required an understanding of both billing codes and healthcare finance basics because in cases were forms were rejected the provider would not be paid.||I dedicated time to enhance my knowledge of healthcare finance by reading articles and company materials.||After several months I was confident with the forms and financial components of billing.||5|
|Impact and Influence: Use an indirect influence |
|The organization was looking for new risk-free ideas that would help them expand their operations.||I needed to convince the senior management to invest in the new telehealth project.||Because there were over ten projects presented by other personnel I needed to convince the executives using indirect influence.||The economic and legislative uncertainties obstructed executives from implementing long-term initiatives.||2|
|Information seeking: Conduct research to maintain knowledge |
|The implementation of the ACA required several critical changes that affected the operations of insurers.||While Anthem provided general information and guidelines for its employees, I decided to conduct an in-depth examination of the legislation and opinions of industry experts.||I located an online version of the law as well as several articles from credible sources that focused on the topic and dedicated time to study those.||While the information provided a basic understanding of the problem, more investigation would be required to be able to offer a program based on ACA that Anthem could use.||4|
|Initiative: Take action on long term opportunities |
|The ACA required new approaches to organizational management for Anthem.||The executives wanted to hear proposals from managers on how to reorganize the structure and track performance to leverage the law.||I created a benchmark evaluation table for my department that considered all specifics of work.||The measurement tool was approved and is currently used to track performance.||5|
|Innovative Thinking: Apply “tried and true” concepts or trends |
|From previous managerial experience, I use a different customer relationship management (CRM) system that can be more efficient.||I needed to offer new CRM to the executives.||I prepared information, including calculations and “tried and true” examples comparing the CRMs.||The management approved the purchase of CRM for my department.||5|
|Interpersonal Understanding: Commit to understanding others |
|Because I had many managerial positions at Anthem, I had to adapt my skills and communication style to each team.||I dedicated time before beginning the work at a department to talking with future employees and understanding their approaches to work.||In conflict situations, for instance, when one employee made a mistake, I ensured that I understandably communicate the problem.||Because I maintain contact with most of the departments that I worked for, the approach to interpersonal communication is valid.||5|
|Organizational Awareness: Adapt actions to climate and culture |
|When beginning to work as a manager for Anthem, I had to alter some approaches by the company’s values.||The previous employer focused on quantity rather than quality, while Anthem’s culture is centered on caring for patients.||I spoke to the senior manager regarding my conserves and dedicated time learning about the history of Anthem and their values.||I successfully integrated into the work environment of the company by adapting their culture.||5|
|Performance Measurement: Monitor a “scorecard” of quantitative and qualitative measures |
|During my work, I had to create and measure performance using scorecards several times.||With the implementation of ACA, I was required to create a performance measurement table.||I used examples and previous experience to compose evaluation metrics and monitored them for the last several years.||The department’s performance improved due to an ability to identify issues.||5|
|Process Management & Organizational Design: Benchmarks best processes and practices |
|Anthem needed to reduce the time of processing for financial claims by industry standard.||I needed to collect information and observe the existing procedure to make changes.||Over several months I collected information and compared metrics to illumine additional elements.||The process was benchmarked and time for the activity was significantly reduced.||5|
|Project Management: Provide project oversight and sponsorship |
|Throughout my work, at Anthem, I offered several changes and projects that would benefit the organization.||This particular project aimed to implement a new financial management system.||I had to create a plan and guide the employees through its implementation.||The system was successfully implemented as is currently used by the company’s partners.||3|
|Self-Confidence: Take on challenges |
|I was asked to participate in a new project that would enable better telehealth access.||The task was challenging because of the alterations in the external environment and lack of resources.||Our team and I created d a plan and presented it to the management.||The executives evaluated this idea as a valid approach to expiring new opportunities.||5|
|Self-Development: Pursue long-term personal development |
|The changes that Anthem undergoes due to ACA and alterations of the organizational structure require new knowledge.||Managers are required to participate in training sessions and gain new knowledge and skills.||Apart from the required activities, I created a personal development plan that involves reading specialized books and journal articles.||Currently, I have participated in most of the sessions and began studying the chosen papers.||4|
|Strategic Orientation: Conduct environmental scanning |
|With the implementation of ACA Anthem needed a new strategy.||I was asked to perform an environmental analysis and determine growth opportunities.||I used credible sources to collect data and create a strategic plan.||The information was applied for the strategic planning of the company’s direction.||5|
|Team Leadership: |
|I was asked to become the manager of a newly created department.||As a manager, I was required to highlight the values of the company through my work.||I ensured that my understanding of Anthem’s strategy aligns with that of the executives and communicate it to my employees.||The department employees understood the values of the company and presented good results for their work.||4|
|Communication Skills: Communicate in a clear, logical, and grammatical manner |
|As a manager, I have to write emails and notes to many of my employees and colleagues.||The task was to create a letter explaining the new structure of the company to the staff members.||I drafted the letter and asked a colleague to provide feedback before creating a final version.||The letter was sent to the organization’s employees and was well received.||5|