It is said that all pharmacists must be leaders. There is at least some truth to that. Pharmacists must be able to not only manage, but also demonstrate leadership with peers and support personnel to embrace health care and organizational change. There also must be a sufficient number of leaders willing to take responsibility in advocating for the profession, even locally by positive role-modeling. So exhibiting leadership does not imply that every pharmacist must appear on Capitol Hill, their state legislature, or company boardroom.
Pharmacists must be perfectionists in their daily practice. The room for error in dispensing potent medications is quite low in most cases. However, in being a leader and making changes, we need to get comfortable with not having all the information we would like, nor exact direction from company management , but trusting that we can figure it out as we get experience, says noted pharmacy hospital pharmacy leader, Sara White.1 She adds further that we can't afford to exhibit the all-or-none thinking of perfection versus failure, but must be willing to experiment and learn as we go.
Leaders take calculated risks by planning as completely as time allows but not delaying implementation so as to miss an opportunity. It is easy when thinking like a pharmacist to get tied up in analysis paralysis, wanting everything to be perfect before proceeding.
There are various leadership theories and styles, including situational leadership. This concept has the pharmacist-leader true to their self yet adaptable in leadership styles depending upon prevailing conditions and understanding different barriers and facilitators to projects, and the motivators of people being led, while applying the right mix of caution, innovation, assertiveness, and delegation. You must also find the right people to complement your strengths to join you in your efforts to promote change.
Additional information about Leadership cacan be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.
1White SJ. Perfectionism: A stumbling block to effective leadership? (Every pharmacist must be a leader). Hosp Pharm 2016;51:429-430.