Many people think of pharmacy positions as task-related jobs, filling prescriptions and answering questions from patients as they pick up their medication. Even when pursuing a degree, leadership skills simply aren’t an educational focus for most pharmacy students. But many quickly realize that they really do need those skills and feel lost as to how to strengthen them. Luckily, all of the leadership skills a pharmacist needs can be learned and built right on the job. Whether you are in a leadership role or just need to exhibit leadership when interacting with others, these are skills you need to make an effort each day to grow and develop.
While most any college or university will teach basic communication skills through standard coursework, it is up to you to expand those skills to become a better pharmacist. You need to be a clear communicator and carefully consider your words as you make requests of and share information with others. Practice keeping instructions simple and clear as you talk with your coworkers and advise your patients. And of course, courtesy in all situations is a given.
Listening is even more important than communicating clearly. Work on being an active listener and tune in to what those around you are saying. Repeat back key points to make it clear that you’re understanding what is said. Remember that listening and hearing are not the same things. You must be an active participant in the conversation in order to truly listen, comprehend, empathize, and respond to the words of your patients.
Delegation and Management Skills
When you are in a leadership position within your pharmacy, you’ll find yourself responsible for a wide number of tasks and outcomes. It is your job to ensure that important tasks are done efficiently and in a timely manner. In order to do this, you must learn how to delegate and manage employees. One of the easiest ways to be a good manager is to lead by example. Show those around you your own dedication to the task at hand and they’ll follow suit in putting the necessary effort into their own tasks and responsibilities.
Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
All great leaders are great problem solvers. While there is some natural basis in problem-solving and critical thinking, you can hone these skills every day behind the pharmacy counter. Every day, your patients will come to you with questions and concerns that will require outside-the-box thinking to find a workable solution. These situations are a great way to exercise your problem-solving skills, plus pull in other leadership skills to find ways to help your patients achieve a better outcome.
There are many skills and attributes that can make you a better pharmacist and make each day in your work environment run a little more smoothly. By growing your leadership skills, you will become an even more valuable asset, which will create wonderful opportunities for the growth of your career.