MHA Competencies

Our MHA Program uses the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) competency model as the framework for curriculum planning and operation. The NCHL model (v.3.0) is organized around four “action” domains and three “enabling” domains. The Action Competency Domains describe leaders in the context of doing their work. The Enabling Competency Domains describe preparation and development activities leaders need in order to effectively lead in the context of their preparation and development to effectively lead in their organization. Within these domains, students completing the MHA program will master the 28 competencies.

The Action Competency Domains include:


Optimizing relationships between a leader’s span of control and the departments, organizations, communities, and/or broader networks within which it operates.

  • Community Collaboration - The ability to align one’s own and the organization’s priorities with the needs and values of the community, including its cultural and ethnocentric values, and to move health forward in line with population-based wellness needs and national health agenda.
  • Organizational Awareness - The ability to understand and learn the formal and informal decision-making structures and power relationships in an organization or industry (e.g., stakeholders, suppliers). This includes the ability to identify who the real decision makers are and the individuals who can influence them, and to predict how new events will affect individuals and groups within the organization.

  • Relationship & Network Development - The ability to establish, build, and sustain professional contacts for the purpose of building networks of people with similar goals and that support similar interests.


Translating vision and strategy into actions supporting optimal organizational performance.

  • Accountability - The ability to hold people accountable to standards of performance or ensure compliance by effectively and appropriately using the power of one’s position or personality, with the long-term good of the organization in mind.

  • Achievement Orientation - A concern for surpassing standards of excellence. Standards may involve past performance (striving for improvement); objective measures (results orientation); outperforming others (competitiveness); challenging goals, or redefining the nature of the standards themselves (innovation).

  • Analytical Thinking - Developing a deeper understanding of a situation, issue, or problem by breaking it down or tracing its implications step-by-step. It includes organizing the parts of a situation, issue, or problem systematically; making systematic comparisons of different features or aspects; setting priorities on a rational basis; and identifying time sequences, causal relationships, or if-then relationships.

  • Communication Skills 1 – Writing - The ability to use written communications in formal and informal situations to convey meaning, build shared understanding, and productively move agendas forward.

  • Communication Skills 2 – Speaking & Facilitating - The ability to use spoken communications in formal and informal situations to convey meaning, build shared understanding, and productively move agendas forward.

  • Initiative - Identifying a problem, obstacle, or opportunity and taking action in light of this identification to address current or future problems or opportunities. Initiative emphasizes proactively doing things and not simply thinking about future actions. Levels of proficiency relate to the time scale of focus, moving from addressing current situations to acting on long-term future opportunities or problems.

  • Performance Measurement - The ability to understand and use statistical and financial metrics and methods to set goals and measure clinical as well as organizational performance; commits to and deploys evidence-based techniques.

  • Process & Quality Improvement - The ability to analyze and design or improve an organizational process, including incorporating the principles of high reliability, continuous quality improvement, and user-centered design.

  • Project Management - The ability to plan, execute, and oversee a multi-year, large-scale project involving significant resources, scope, and impact.

  • Examples include the construction of a major building, implementation of a new enterprise-wide information system, or development of a new service line.


Leading, through example and actions, to create an organizational climate that values employees from all backgrounds, provides a healthy and energizing environment in which to work, and encourages everyone’s ongoing development.

  • Collaboration - The ability to work cooperatively and inclusively with other individuals and/or teams they do not formally lead; working together, as opposed to working separately or competitively.

  • Impact & Influence - The ability to persuade, convince, influence, or impress others (individuals or groups) in order to get them to go along with or to support one’s opinion or position. The “key” is understanding others’ interests and motivations, in order to have a specific impact, effect, or impression on them and/or convince them to take a specific course of action.

  • Interpersonal Understanding - The ability to accurately hear and understand the unspoken or partly expressed thoughts, feelings, and concerns of others, especially those who may represent diverse backgrounds and very different worldviews. Levels of proficiency relate to the increasing complexity and depth of understanding, as well as openness to perspectives very different from one’s own.

  • Talent Development - The ability to build the breadth and depth of the organization’s human capability and professionalism, including supporting top-performing people and taking a personal interest in coaching and mentoring high-potential leaders.

  • Team Leadership - The ability to lead groups of people toward shared visions and goals, from forming a team that possesses balanced capabilities, to setting its mission, values, and norms, and holding team members accountable individually and as a group for results.


Creating and implementing compelling and inclusive change processes in support of improving health quality, efficiency, and access.

  • Change Leadership - The ability to energize stakeholders and sustain their commitment to changes in approaches, processes, and strategies.

  • Information Seeking - An underlying curiosity and desire to know more about things, people, and issues, including the desire for knowledge and staying current with health, organizational, industry, and professional trends and developments. It includes pressing for more precise information; resolving discrepancies by asking a series of questions; and scanning for potential opportunities or information that may be of future use, as well as staying current and seeking best practices for adoption.

  • Innovation - The ability to approach one’s work and the organization in new and breakthrough ways, including applying complex concepts, developing creative new solutions, or adapting previous solutions in promising new ways.

  • Strategic Orientation - The ability to consider the business, demographic, ethno-cultural, political, and regulatory implications of decisions and develop strategies that continually improve the long-term success and viability of the organization.

The Enabling Competency Domains include:


Understanding and utilizing personal, professional, and organizational values to guide decision-making.

  • Professional & Social Responsibility - The demonstration of ethics, sound professional practices, social accountability, and community stewardship. Acting in ways that are consistent with one’s values and what one says is important.


Understanding the health system’s current business and operating frameworks as well as the dynamic context within which they operate.

  • Financial Skills - The ability to understand and explain financial and accounting information, prepare and manage budgets, and make sound long-term investment decisions.

  • Human Resource Management - The ability to implement staff development and other management practices that represent contemporary best practices, comply with legal and regulatory requirements, and optimize the performance of the workforce, including performance assessments, alternative compensation and benefit methods, and the alignment of human resource practices and processes to meet the strategic goals of the organization.

  • Information Technology Management - The ability to see the potential for administrative and clinical technologies to support process and performance improvement. Actively sponsors the continuous seeking of enhanced technological capabilities.


 Ongoing habits and actions taken to continuously improve self-knowledge, interpersonal effectiveness, and well-being. 

  • Self-Awareness - The ability to have an accurate view of one’s own strengths and development needs, including the impact that one has on others. A willingness to address development needs through reflective, self-directed learning, and by trying new approaches.

  • Self-Confidence - A belief in one’s own capability to successfully accomplish their work. This includes confidence in one’s ability as expressed in increasingly challenging circumstances, and confidence in one’s decisions or opinions.

  • Well-Being - Establishes habits supporting well-being, and creates a work climate supportive of the total health of oneself and others. This includes role-modeling healthy habits and practices, and monitoring internal and external environments for opportunities to improve health.

Page last updated 11:17 AM, October 24, 2022