This past year has been like none other for healthcare leaders around the world. With juggling a pandemic, loss of staff, budget cuts, and countless other changes, these leaders have had to overcome immense hurdles as of lately. Though one might attribute their successes to their hard skills, there are actually quite a few soft skills that healthcare leaders have had to depend upon in order to get through each workday.


Pandemic or not, adaptability is a huge part of working in healthcare. Healthcare leaders need to be able to stay afloat throughout changes, and changes tend to come on very quickly in the healthcare industry. Those who do not attain a sort of flexibility will find it very difficult to lead their organization through the processes it must go through. Adaptability is a key soft skill that any professional can benefit from but especially so for those in the healthcare industry.

Emotional Intelligence

If you’re new to this term, emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognize, understand and manage your own emotions as well as the emotions of other individuals. While this can help individuals handle issues in their personal lives, it should also be a prioritized skill in the workplace, specifically in healthcare. This important skill will help healthcare leaders identify the emotional needs of their staff, as well as with their patients. Healthcare leaders who educate themselves on how to deal with certain emotions, practice empathy, and resolve conflicts will find they are fostering a healthier working environment that betters the lives of their employees and the patients that come through.

Stress Management

Stress is bound to be a reoccurring issue in leaders, especially those in healthcare. As you deal with complex matters, you’ll often be tempted to let your stress get the best of you. After all, the decisions you make in healthcare leadership tend to affect many more lives than just your employees. Stress management is a crucial skill that you will have to learn early on in your career. The way you manage your stress may look different compared to others, but you can often count on a good night’s rest, exercise, and a social support system to help you maintain healthy stress levels.

If you do not check all these boxes, there is no need to worry. Leadership is about constant development, and you cannot expect to develop these soft skills with the snap of a finger. In most cases, they will be learned skills that come as a result of trial and error. But once you’ve learned them, you’ll feel much more prepared to guide your healthcare organization through the daily challenges it faces.