Pharmacy Leadership

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Sculpting the Pharmacy Leaders of Tomorrow

Introduction
Leadership has so much influence in our lives because so often it determines whether we enjoy a particular activity. Life is short – so why participate in an activity if we don’t enjoy it, and if we do participate, why not do so with all of our energy? Therefore, having an understanding of leadership and acknowledging its significance is vital within our day-to-day lives. Leadership can be described by many, “as the process by which a leader imaginatively directs, guides and influences the work of others in choosing and attaining specified goals by mediating between the individuals and the organization in such a manner, that both will obtain maximum satisfaction.”1

Leadership is about building teams and communicating so that everyone works together. The importance of leadership is a key ingredient to all successful businesses and championship teams around the world. Teams that have this synergy tend to thrive and be the ones on top. Thus, leadership is dynamic in all aspects of life.

At the forefront of any successful business or team is the leader. A leader is anyone who inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational goals. They motivate others to pursue actions, focus thinking, and shape decisions for the greater good of the organization. A leader is also a knowledgeable and trustworthy individual that communicates effectively and sets an example by living the corporate values everyone is expected to follow. Often times many contemplate whether leaders are born or made. Effective leaders are not simply born or made; yet they are born with some leadership ability and develop it over time.1 Legendary collegiate football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Contrary to the opinion of many people, leaders are not born, leaders are made, and they are made by effort and hard work.”1 Thus, we are all leaders, and all individuals have potential leadership skills, which stresses the importance of leadership development. Anyone can have the fundamental requirements necessary for the leadership role, but it’s how they develop them that matters. Leadership development is defined as an effort to enhance a learner’s ability to lead, an endeavor focused on developing the leadership abilities and attitudes of the individuals sitting at the top of the chain of command. Successful leadership development requires a lot more than the ability to give orders. It also requires diplomacy, top of the line people skills, and a certain level of ruthlessness.

Leadership within Pharmacy
These leadership attributes and skills pertain to all professions, regardless of the career path chosen for each individual. In the pharmacy profession, transition into a leadership role often happens serendipitously, resulting in what is sometimes referred to as accidental leadership. Today’s pharmacy students receive very little exposure to pharmacy administrative career options and administrative leaders throughout the curriculum. Thus, they are often unaware of many leadership opportunities available to them upon graduation. Furthermore, those who do develop an interest in advanced administrative training often do so after they have already committed to a post-graduate staff position or a clinical training program without an emphasis on administrative practice. By not exposing students to administratively focused career options during their impressionable clerkship years, we are losing many potential future leaders.5 We need to spark their interest in administrative practice earlier, while they are still in pharmacy school, and introduce them to a career that focuses on leadership and creating innovative pharmacy services and practice models that improve patient care.5

Pharmacy school provides future health care professionals with the knowledge and skills of pharmaceutical therapies in order to deliver adequate, high-quality patient care to those with health...
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