10 Emotionally Intelligent Communication Techniques that Healthcare Administrators Should Use

Raychel Ria

Raychel Ria

Agramon-Gacayan, BSN, RN, MPM

Updated & Fact Checked: 04.06.2024

Whether you’re a budding or working healthcare administrator, you need to have good communication skills. In fact, it’s one of the top skills you need to master.

That said, it’s not enough to just be a good speaker or writer. You need to incorporate emotionally intelligent techniques in your day-to-day communications as they help build relationships, improve teamwork, resolve conflicts, and enhance job performance, among many other things. 

Without further ado, here are 10 emotionally intelligent techniques every healthcare administrator should use: 

1. Self-Awareness

Considered the highest level of emotional intelligence, self-awareness involves the regulation of emotions so that you can respond to others in a professional manner.

Building self-awareness involves:

  • Reflecting one’s beliefs and values
  • Being familiar with your strengths and weaknesses 
  • Demonstrating self-acceptance and self-regard
  • Knowing the perception of others
  • Being conscious of triggers (i.e., people, situations, etc.) that bring about strong emotional reactions

Workplace relations can easily be strained if you don’t know how to regulate your emotions or understand those of others. So if you want to address your employees’ concerns productively, you need to regulate your emotions first before you reply. In order to do so, you have to:

  • Practice mindfulness
  • Identify the emotions you feel at present
  • Observe emotional flexibility
  • Resist acting upon an unhelpful impulse
  • Stay composed
  • Use proactive and constructive language 

2. Authenticity

As a healthcare administrator, you need to be your authentic self. It means being true to your values and beliefs even if others are expecting you to act otherwise. 

Authenticity is all about being honest and open while asserting yourself in a respectable manner. It’s also about setting healthy boundaries and asking for help whenever needed. 

Some may see authenticity as being callous, but you can avoid that by conveying things non-offensively at the right time and saying no in a professional manner. 

Remember: authenticity brings transparency, which allows you to communicate with others better. 

3. Empathy

Psychology Today defines empathy as the understanding and recognition of another person’s thoughts and feelings. As a healthcare administrator, communicating empathetically can help you gain the necessary feedback.

For example, your organization is currently implementing a new process. One of your staff members has come to your office to report that they don’t work as smoothly as the old one. Rather than tell them that they have to follow it because it’s the new rule, respond with:

“Thank you for telling me. What do you think we should do to make the new process as seamless as the old one?”

Empathetic communication helps build rapport. Furthermore, it will help you gain valuable information from the people who are implementing your policies and experiencing their effects firsthand.

4. Active Listening and Reflecting

As a healthcare administrator, you’ll often face responses that you don’t like. While you may be tempted to shut the conversation down, you shouldn’t. Instead, you should actively listen and reflect on the context before you respond. Doing so will help you get more feedback from your subordinates. 

It’s as simple as answering “Tell me more.”

Active listening is all about being fully present during the conversation so that you understand others on a deeper level. It means:

  • Paying full attention to the speaker
  • Avoiding interrupting or judging the speaker
  • Asking clarifying questions as needed
  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Sitting up straight
  • Understanding non-verbal cues and facial expressions
  • Conveying positive body language cues such as nodding

Just think: maybe there is some context that will help you address their concern properly. In fact, their comments and suggestions may just help you troubleshoot many of the concerns you have within the organization. And yes, you would not have been able to think about it if you didn’t listen and reflect on the conversation in the first place. 

5. Acknowledging and Affirming

Apart from listening and reflecting, another emotionally intelligent communication technique that you should use as a healthcare administrator is ‘acknowledging and affirming.’

Let’s say that you disagree with the report presented to you. Instead of saying that’s not where things should be headed, you could say:

“Thank you for sharing your opinion; I truly appreciate it. That said, let me explain why we’re opting for the other direction.”

Acknowledging and affirming will make your staff members feel heard and appreciated, even if you don’t utilize their suggestions. As such, they will be more likely to support your cause because you carefully explained why it should go that way and not the other. 

6. Information Gathering

As a healthcare administrator, you must not flat-out dismiss employee feedback. If you want to build (and maintain) rapport with your staff, then you must gather information whenever possible. 

If an employee comes up to you and says that the new procedure is getting in the way of patient care, don’t ignore their opinion. Worse, don’t tell them to just ‘deal with it.’ An emotionally intelligent reply would be, “What aspect of the new policy is affecting patient care?”

As with listening & reflecting and acknowledging & affirming, gathering information will help you learn more about the issues of the said procedure. 

7. Collaborative Communication

As the name suggests, this technique involves communicating with others to resolve a problem or achieve a certain objective. It promotes cooperation and creativity while reducing competition. 

Regardless of the point of your career path right now, you need to master collaborative communication as it can help them gather information, define goals, explore concerns, and resolve conflicts more easily.

8. Optimism

No matter how bleak things may seem to be, as a healthcare administrator, you always need to be optimistic. In other words, you need to be confident or hopeful of future outcomes. After all, when you’re optimistic, your staff members will feel more confident about you and the organization itself. 

Conveying optimism is as simple as appreciating co-workers, expressing gratitude to employees, and viewing hurdles as learning experiences.

If you’re still in the process of building your optimism, you may do so by practicing self-discipline, controlling your emotions during stressful times, and reframing or changing your usual perspectives. 

9. Not Taking Things Personally

Whether you’re a hospital CEO or nursing home administrator, you’re accountable for what goes on in your organization. And, should things go awry, your staff may just blame you for that. 

That’s why you shouldn’t take things personally. 

Instead of getting mad, respond with “I understand. What do you think I could’ve done to avoid the issue?” 

When you take things personally, you’ll just end up with staff dismissing your capacities. But if you take things in stride, listen to their thoughts, and acknowledge their suggestions, they won’t stop helping you with improving the organization. They’ll respect you even more because they know you are capable of owning up to your shortcomings.

10. Apologizing

It is hard to say sorry. But as a healthcare administrator, you need to be able to apologize to your employees if you do something wrong. Even if you have a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration, you must understand that nobody’s perfect (and that includes you.)

Acknowledging your mistakes and apologizing will draw your staff closer to you. If any, it can make them more loyal to the cause. It shows humility and authenticity, a characteristic we discussed earlier. 

The adage “think before you speak” always holds true. That’s why it’s important to practice the above-mentioned emotionally intelligent communication techniques as they can work wonders in your organization.