As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and change, companies are recognizing they need leaders skilled at navigating the challenges. One way for professionals to gain management expertise with a healthcare focus is by earning an MBA in Healthcare Management online from UT Tyler.
Understanding the Leadership Gap in the Healthcare Industry
A 2016 study by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) analyzed nearly 35,000 leadership effectiveness evaluations taken between 2000 and 2009 in the healthcare industry.
While the ability to lead employees was deemed the most important characteristic for success in the healthcare industry, the study, nevertheless, found that leaders underperformed in this area in relation to other leadership competencies evaluated. Identifying this leadership gap — defined in the study as the disparities between leadership priorities and current skill sets — is essential to creating successful leadership development initiatives.
The study led to several key recommendations for closing the gap:
- Improve the ability of healthcare workers to lead employees and work in teams thus creating an environment conducive to collaboration.
- Create strategies to provide current and future leaders access to broad, cross-organizational experiences and learning.
- Capitalize on the strengths of current healthcare leaders including the ability to adapt to change and meet business objectives.
Organizational and Industry Leadership Gaps
While the CCL study focused primarily on evaluating individuals working in healthcare, another survey in 2014 by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership also identified gaps in how healthcare organizations have attempted to address these internal leadership deficiencies. The survey identified 11 different dimensions representing the interdependent components of a complete leadership development system which were then weighted as a percentage of a total score.
The median score for the 103 hospitals and healthcare organizations that participated in the survey was just 23.1 out of a possible 100 indicating that most healthcare organizations have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to leadership development. This was most evident in the heaviest weighted dimension — Strategically Aligning Leadership Development — which accounted for 20 percent of the final score. For a leadership development program to be successful, it clearly has to align with the strategic goals of the organization, and should, therefore, be driven by inputs from senior leaders. The survey revealed, however, that many organizations attempt to implement leadership development from the middle — almost exclusively through human resources initiatives or internal training departments or even by outsourcing to external training providers.
This approach inevitably means that, despite their good intentions, leadership development programs often fail to adequately address the gaps that exist on an individual basis, and ultimately, the resources devoted to these programs fail to address an organization’s long-term development needs.
A Curriculum Focused on Real-World Applications
These leadership gaps mean that healthcare organizations are often forced to appoint individuals to executive leadership positions who might be ill-prepared for those roles, according to the HealthcareSource Blog. UT Tyler’s MBA in Healthcare Management features a strong core curriculum with courses designed to help you succeed in these real-world situations. “Strategic Leadership Processes” is a course that specifically deals with the leadership gap issues in the healthcare industry by focusing on leadership and development issues from the perspective of top management. The “Decision Making in Operations Management” course provides an analysis of operations management functions from a manager’s perspective and examines quantitative techniques related to decision-making. “Organizational Behavior and Strategic Human Resource Management,” meanwhile, focuses on the role of HR managers and practices with an eye on developing competitive advantages for the organization.
Additionally, the program provides a specific concentration in healthcare-specific areas such as “Special Topics in Healthcare Management” and “Healthcare Marketing in Contemporary Society” along with an “Introduction to the American Healthcare System” to help individuals working in the industry develop the necessary skill sets for a career in healthcare management.
Becoming Part of the Solution
While healthcare organizations are likely to continue moving toward evidence-based leadership development programs in the future, the leadership gaps that exist in the industry aren’t likely to be solved by internal development initiatives alone.
UT Tyler’s online program for an MBA in Healthcare Management can equip you with the tools for career advancement that also signal to employers your abilities as a leader who will help close those gaps.
Learn more about the UT Tyler online MBA in Healthcare Management program.