Common competencies for all healthcare managers: the Healthcare Leadership Alliance model

J Healthc Manag. 2008 Nov-Dec;53(6):360-73; discussion 374.


Today's healthcare executives and leaders must have management talent sophisticated enough to match the increased complexity of the healthcare environment. Executives are expected to demonstrate measurable outcomes and effectiveness and to practice evidence-based management. At the same time, academic and professional programs are emphasizing the attainment of competencies related to workplace effectiveness. The shift to evidence-based management has led to numerous efforts to define the competencies most appropriate for healthcare. The Healthcare Leadership Alliance (HLA), a consortium of six major professional membership organizations, used the research from and experience with their individual credentialing processes to posit five competency domains common among all practicing healthcare managers: (1) communication and relationship management, (2) professionalism, (3) leadership, (4) knowledge of the healthcare system, and (5) business skills and knowledge. The HLA engaged in a formal process to delineate the knowledge, skills, and abilities within each domain and to determine which of these competencies were core or common among the membership of all HLA associations and which were specialty or specific to the members of one or more HLA organizations. This process produced 300 competency statements, which were then organized into the Competency Directory, a unique and interactive database that can be used for assessing individual and organizational competencies. Overall, this work helps to unify the field of healthcare management and provides a lexicon and a basis for collaboration among different types of healthcare executives. This article discusses the steps that the HLA followed. It also presents the HLA Competency Directory; its application and relevance to the practitioner and academic communities; and its strengths, limitations, and potential.

MeSH terms

  • Health Facility Administrators*
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Professional Competence / standards*