There has been much written on the differences between managers and leaders. Leaders figure most prominently when organizational change is on the horizon. The Pharmacy Management text describes various styles and models of effective leadership. Among the more common features of all the definitions is that leaders focus on making necessary changes and attract the voluntary commitment of followers.
Magram and Weber describe leadership strategies for managing organizational change in restructuring a hospital pharmacy department.1 They describe how a vastly changing healthcare environment creates the need for flexible, fluid, and adaptable structures. Organizational restructure involves the integration of structure, processes, and people to support the implementation of strategy. A successful restructure should focus the resources of a business on its strategic priorities and other growth areas, reduce costs, and improve decision-making and accountability. Changes in workflow might be met with resistance. Therefore, organizations should make sure that members are ready for and receptive to change. Many companies fall short and fail in their redesign efforts. They recommend 9 “rules” to follow for organizational restructure: (1) Focus first on the long-term; (2) Take time to survey the scene (strengths, weaknesses, current culture; (3) Weigh the redesign criteria, challenge biases, and minimize the influence of political agents; (4) Go beyond lines and boxes (be careful with rigidity or else risk further disenfranchising employees); (5) Be rigorous about drafting in talent; (6) Identify the necessary mind-set shifts; (7) Establish new metrics that measure short- and long-term success; (8) Ensure that business leaders communicate; (9) Manage the transitional risks.
The authors point out that leaders should be careful with timing. There might not ever be a perfect time, but implementing change after change can grow tiresome and result in burnout. No matter what, you can anticipate some level of politics. Pharmacy leaders must make a thorough scan of both the internal and external environment. They must be transparent, flexible yet assertive, have empathy for others, and outline a vision that staff will follow, even while expecting some level of conflict.
Additional information about Leadership and Organizational Structure and Behavior can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. 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, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.
1Magram B, Weber RJ. Restructuring a pharmacy department: Leadership strategies for managing organizational change. Hosp Pharm. 2018;53:225-229.