You’ve been carefully weighing your career options for months. You’ve spent late nights with Google, asking in-depth questions about various careers. You’ve spent early mornings daydreaming about what your life could look like once you step into your new role.
All that research has put one job in the lead over all the others: A healthcare management career. You think you have what it takes to tackle this rewarding yet challenging career, but you need to know for sure before making your decision.
You’ve done your research—now we’ll take it from here. We spoke with experienced healthcare management experts to learn about seven types of people who would thrive as healthcare managers. Read on to find out if your inherent personality traits could be the foundation of a successful career in healthcare management.
7 people who should consider healthcare management careers
1. The top-notch communicator
Everyone from your kids to your best friends approach you for advice, and sometimes you feel like the official mediator between feuding family members. Those same communication skills that make you the go-to person for lending advice or resolving a dispute will set a solid foundation for a healthcare management career. “A true leader knows how to communicate and listen to their employees,” says Kathy Mion, BSN, RN and Director of Clinical Services with DAVIN Healthcare Solutions. In addition to leading their own teams, healthcare managers also need to easily communicate between departments. “When speaking with patients, doctors or IT personnel, the managers should be able to fully understand and address all issues and come up with a solution that works for everyone,” explains Stan Loskutov, CIO at Medical Billing Group.
2. The organization junkie
You run your household like a well-oiled machine. Paperwork never goes missing, bills are always paid on time and you coordinate your family’s schedules without breaking a sweat. Your organization skills are second to none, and they’ll serve you well in a healthcare management career.
“Everyone relies on managers when they need help,” Loskutov says. “Your focus will be constantly distracted by incoming emails or phone calls.” Your natural organization skills will help you keep your focus when your attention is being pulled in different directions, so you can get your work done without letting tasks fall through the cracks.
3. The business maven
You may not be a billionaire business mogul, but there’s no denying you’ve got basic business sense. You never miss an episode of Shark Tank (and your predictions on which products the sharks will love always prove accurate); plus you have this uncanny ability to deconstruct an infomercial’s false promises before they even mention their special bonus offer. Believe it or not, that business savvy is a great asset for healthcare managers.
“Oftentimes, leaders and managers in healthcare are experts in their area of practice (hospice, pharmacy benefits and/or hospitals) but don’t always have the business component,” says Dr. Josh Kuehler, a leadership expert at FMG Leading. He adds that managers who have a head for business to complement their healthcare knowledge can be more effective at maintaining both the patients’ and the organizations’ best interests.
4. The strong role model
Do you spend each day doing your best to live out the values and rules you expect your kids to live by? Or maybe you hold yourself to a high standard because you want to treat others the way you’d like to be treated. If that rings a bell, you might be the type of role model who would do well in healthcare management.
“Managers should serve as a model on how to respond productively to change and uncertainty,” Kuehler explains. Strong managers don’t just tell their employees what to do, they lead by example. Kuehler adds that the healthcare industry especially needs strong role models to navigate their teams through the challenges that come with new standards and regulations.
5. The “Honest Abe”
You’ve been known to chase strangers down in the parking lot after seeing them drop a dollar bill, and you’ve mastered the art of gently telling the truth in awkward situations. Others may wonder why you take honesty so seriously, but having this value is key to a healthcare management career. “Honesty and ethical behavior are first and foremost,” Mion says. “If you set high standards for an honest, open workplace, your employees and colleagues should follow suit.” Placing a high priority on honesty puts you in the best possible position to lead your team well and to steer your healthcare facility in a direction that benefits employees and patients alike.
6. The passionate advocate
When you care about something, you give your all to the cause. Few things are more important to you than standing up and giving a voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t have a say in the system. This passion and commitment are exactly what the healthcare industry needs in its leaders. “If you’re just in it for the paycheck—forget it,” Mion says. A successful healthcare manager should genuinely care about improving the healthcare system for the wellbeing of patients. “If you show your passion and commitment to the mission and success of your team, you will get the respect and dedication you desire from the entire team.”
7. The purposeful decision-maker
You don’t spend all day waffling between two choices. You have a system for making the best decision; whether it’s where to send your kids to school or which laptop you should buy. You do your research, debate the pros and cons, check your instincts and make a confident, well-informed decision. Successful healthcare managers also need to be strong decision-makers. Judgment and decision-making are in the top five skills for medical and health services managers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Healthcare managers will regularly be faced with choices. They need to be able to evaluate the possibilities and choose the option that’s best for patients, their team and their healthcare facility as a whole.
Does your personality fit the bill?
Now you know some of the important qualities needed to launch a successful healthcare management career. Can you relate to a handful of the scenarios described above? If so, you may be a natural fit for the job.