Running a healthcare facility takes a diverse skill set, and nothing is more important than having leadership ability. Mastering essential leadership skills during your bachelor’s program in healthcare administration will help you get ahead in this competitive field. Here are five key skills that you should focus on during your undergrad years.

Being Motivational

Nothing is more important in a demanding employment setting such as a healthcare facility than being motivated to do your job. As a healthcare administrator, you’ll have to motivate yourself to accomplish facility goals. You’ll also need to keep the staff at your facility motivated. Think of your role as a motivator like that of a coach. It’s your duty as an administrator to ensure that everyone in your organization feels appreciated and wants to do the best work possible. Many students drawn to healthcare professions have natural motivational skills, but you can learn new techniques by reading human resources and business psychology books.

Resource: 15 Great Small Colleges for a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration 2015

Knowing How to Collaborate

The ability to collaborate with others is essential in the healthcare industry. When you’re able to collaborate with others, you can lead your organization to make policy and practice decisions that are supported by staff. Healthcare administrators who collaborate well know how to listen to and balance the opinion of staff, patients and organization stakeholders. As a student, you’ll have opportunities to practice your collaboration skills in courses. You can learn more about collaboration by joining professional and community organizations where you work with others towards a common goal.

Focusing on the Customer

There’s no doubt that today’s healthcare facilities place much more emphasis on custom service and satisfaction than they did in the past. That’s a positive thing, but it also means that aspiring administrators must know the ins and outs of customer service. It’s your job to ensure that everyone in your facility knows what standards they’re expected to meet in terms of client service and what will happen if they don’t. When clients are unhappy, it will also be your job to listen to their complaints and find a resolution. Practice doing so by working with patient advocacy organizations or in a service-oriented job, such as retail.

Becoming an Influencer

True leaders do more than just direct the day-to-day operations of their organizations. They also influence the atmosphere and direction of the healthcare facilities where they work. As an administrator, you’ll need to be a strong voice for your facility’s mission and ethical standards. Remember that you’re setting the example for your organization. Of course, you’ll also need to develop the knowledge and experience to influence facility leaders, board members and other stakeholders. There’s no one way to develop this skill, but staying on top of trends and developments in the field is a good start.

Acting as an Agent of Change

Healthcare is an ever-changing field, and keeping up often means making tough changes. As a leader, you’ll need to be a driving force for positive change. It can be tough to stand up to the old guard in an organization that doesn’t want to see change, but true leaders know how to fight for what they want and be diplomatic at the same time. Like becoming an influencer, acting as an agent of change is tough to master. Practice your skills by volunteering with an advocacy organization and being active in your community.

Mastering leadership skills may not be easy, but it’s certainly a worthwhile undertaking. Whether you’re in class, on the job or at an internship, look for opportunities to master the leadership skills you’ll lean on as a healthcare administration professional.

Additional Resources:

50 Best Schools for a Healthcare Administration Degree 2016

Top 10 Best Online Healthcare Administration Degree Programs 2016