Competency-Based Practices

“Too many of the academic programs offer boring conceptual lectures that don’t relate to our work in my district health   center. We need practical ideas and tools that we can use tomorrow.”

-District Health Officer, Africa

Leadership is getting work done with and through others. For leaders to be successful at earning followers to do the important work of health systems strengthening requires a mastery of certain knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) associated with the four key practices of leading and managing. Clustering these KSAs enables leadership academies to define “Competencies” for each practice.

To ensure that the above good practices are understood and implemented, leadership academies will want to map these practices to the competencies shown through research to be associated with high performance health service organization. In Exhibit 1, the LMG project Conceptual Model for Leading, Managing and Governing for Results shows four practices each for those who manage, lead, and govern.

Although scores of leadership competency models exist, the work of England’s Ministry of Health (The National Health Service) seems well-adapted for use in LMIC settings and is worth review. (See

The key competencies are clustered into seven (7) groups, all focused on improved services for beneficiaries and patients:

Finally innovative curriculum design and well-supported faculty can help ensure that competencies are well- integrated into new Leadership Academies in LIMCs. These competencies can be mastered in Leadership Academies embedded into Ministries of Health and universities that offer carefully defined training modules that use case studies such as those developed by WHO and the Center for Disease Control and George Washington University.

See also  Standardizing In-Service Training in L+M+G to Improve Health Systems in Ethiopia

(See )

Watch for links in our subsequent newsletters to access a compendium of case studies developed with support from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and George Washington University and Kate Wilson of the LMG Team.

James A Rice, PhD., is the Project Director for the Leadership, Management, and Governance Project.

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