In today’s globally connected world we are starting to find sharp disparities among leaders and their style of leadership.
The “command and control” style of manager is beginning to have a hard time adjusting to constant change and workplace reality.
Business leaders in all walks of life, including the health professions, are starting to work collaboratively – not just with their colleagues, but with suppliers, customers and external service providers.
And suddenly “collaboration” has become the buzzword in pharmacy and in health generally, because collaboration facilitates the exchange of ideas and information plus develops a creative culture that facilitates job satisfaction at all levels.
Business outreach globally is becoming more accessible each day through social media. conferencing over the Internet. global bulletin boards, Internet telephone, regular email and it is now highly mobile through smartphones and notepads.
It has become connectivity on steroids.
But correctly managed it can very much work in your favour.
And it’s like the business or person you are communicating with feels located right next door.
So if you are a more traditional leader and need to feel reinforced in loosening the reins, start reaching out and try some of the new technologies, one step at a time, and ensure each step is a fit with your business culture.
* Have a social media presence:
Having a visible presence on social media is not a frivolous pursuit,
It means that there is a “check-in” point for leader-accessibility and allows your people to bring concerns and suggestions to you from all areas of the business.
It should not be construed as a distraction and in fact now needs to be factored in as a legitimate part of the business day.
It’s an opportunity for a leader to lead by example and it provides a permanent platform to store the information and decisions relevant to the smooth running of the business. It is an integral part of being able to reinforce and expand the culture of the business plus encourages all participants to have an external focus and be on the lookout for good ideas that are available from anywhere in the connected world.
Reasonable security practices need to be applied.
* Ensure that the employee base is a diverse one
Research shows that no matter how diverse a team is in terms of backgrounds, disciplines, culture and generations, they can produce great results if they’re well-led. But that diversity can be squandered by trying to homogenise everyone.
Australia is a multicultural country and has found that with each new intake of migrants, its culture has expanded and the country has become more prosperous through the exposure to different cultures and ideas, Australia has grown stronger as a nation and is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
A well-led team of diverse employees in age and background is likely to innovate and be creative.
A monoculture can create the reverse.
* Lead from the front
Visibility helps to ensure that communications are direct and that internal politics can be kept to a minimum.
Ensure that managers and their teams align and provide incentives for that to happen.
Collaboration and partnership must be encouraged for the long term and short term performance indicators should not be relied upon to sustain longevity.
Depoliticising senior decision-makers, removing personal agendas and rewarding collaboration is a primary leadership function.
* Maintain a firm hand
Once leaders encourage a culture of collaboration, it’s easy to overdo it. If people try to be democratic about everything, they’ll end up in endless meetings and debates, and struggle to reach consensus.
It’s better to aim for “diversity in counsel, unity in command”, as Cyrus the Great, ruler of Persia, once advocated.
Effective collaborative leaders assume a strong role in directing teams – dynamically assembling and disbanding them as necessary – and assigning clear decision-making authority and responsibilities so it’s always understood who can make the final call if no obvious agreement is reached in time.
* Loosen control, don’t lose control
Leaders need to be able to harness ideas, people and resources across boundaries of all kinds. That means building strong connections inside and outside the business, knowing when to wield influence rather than authority, and when to call time on circular discussions, quash politicking and take decisive action.
Of course, one of the key things you can do to enable collaborative leadership is embrace the use of tools such as virtual that keep your teams and external partner relationships productive, connected and evolving. Differences in convictions, cultural values and operating norms inevitably add complexity to collaborative efforts.
But with the right software tools, these can make teamwork richer, more innovative and more valuable.
Except for a few standouts, pharmacy leadership has been conservative, slow on its feet and very inward looking.
It certainly has not kept up with leadership models in other industries and other countries.