Evaluation of the use of soft skills by department heads
Successful management cannot take place without soft skills. The study was aimed to assess the frequency of using soft skills by heads of clinical departments based on feedback from physicians working at the departments. For that an online survey of 433 physicians was conducted with the use of the questionnaire taken from the 360 Sample Competencies Guide. The questionnaire included 20 statements divided into five items: self-awareness, drive for results, leadership, communication, teamwork. The respondents were given five response options per statement: from “always” to “never”. The clue referred the assessed individual to one of five groups based on the frequency of using soft skills: leaders, key management, typical management, underachievers, outsiders. Nonparametric methods of analysis were used for data processing. Based on the survey data, 8.6% of assessed individuals joined the group of leaders, while 15.8% were referred to the group of key management, 23.4% to the group of typical management, 30.3% to the group of underachievers, and 21.9% to the group of outsiders. The scores of items correlated with each other (0.973 ≤ R ≥ 0.967; р < 0.001). The respondents’ age, years of service and gender (р > 0.05), as well as the assessed individuals’ gender (р > 0.05) provided no significant differences between the scores. The scores obtained for “communication”, “teamwork”, emotional control, setting challenging goals, and prioritizing work were lower in the hospital-based physicians than in those who worked in outpatient settings (р < 0.05). The questionnaire can be recommended as a feedback tool. Soft skills of the department heads require further development. Soft skills that belong to the items “drive for results”, “leadership”, and “self-awareness” are worst affected.
Keywords: heads of clinical departments, soft skills, feedback, staff evaluation