Building Leadership and Management Capacity in Health

Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN
Date published
Nov, 2010
Last updated
25 Jan 2020


To build leadership and management capacity in health, WHO proposes a framework which addresses the question: “What conditions are necessary for good leadership and management at the operational level"?

The framework proposes that good leadership and management at the operational level must be balanced among four areas:    

  1. Ensuring an adequate number of managers at all levels of the health system   
  2. Ensuring managers have appropriate competencies
  3. Creating better critical management support systems   
  4. Creating an enabling working environment  

These four conditions are closely inter-related. Strengthening one without the others is not likely to work. Assessing the extent to which these four conditions are fulfilled and identifying how to get the balance right should help countries to deal more effectively with this complexity and help them address the all-important question: “What should we invest in to get services that are better managed?” The framework makes the point that leadership and management strengthening activities are a means to an end – more effective health systems and services, and an integral part of health system strengthening. Better functioning systems will, in turn, contribute to achieving the MDGs. The framework provides a simple but coherent approach to leadership and management strengthening within health systems and in each specific context, can be adapted or modified for use in local situations.

By the end of the session, participants were able to:

  • Develop a plan to mobilize resources to overcome priority leadership challenges
  • Identify factors to create and sustain a productive and capable workforce  
  • Recognize the diversity of temperaments in the work environment