The healthcare system is complex and requires effective leaders who can navigate team, organizational and system dynamics. The objectives of this study were to explore competencies required to lead emerging healthcare challenges and identify strategies for developing successful leaders. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 healthcare leaders from the government, hospitals and in consulting. This study unpacks competencies such as communication and change management and draws attention to the significance of emotional intelligence and working with data that have not traditionally been identified as key competencies. These findings can inform curriculum and modernization initiatives in healthcare leadership programs.