Leadership and Management to the Rescue

Project Management 101: So I may not have mentioned this but my residency research project is going to require digging through hundreds of paper charts to locate BPMHs for data collection. In order to make this feasible, I interviewed several pharmacy students with the help of the UBC TMP-SMX mentorship program. Each of the students was exceptional however I did need to make a decision. Then, on Thursday night, while working on additional residency requirements, the selected student informed me she would be unavailable to assist do to circumstances out of her control. The data collection processes was to begin the following Monday. Okay Gina, don’t panic, you can handle this it is all part of being a project manager (I am a bit reluctant to admit that this thought is madness to pre-residency Gina). So I promptly contacted the other students and was able to quickly connect with a highly motivated 4th year pharmacy student who was excited to start Monday morning. The situation worked out wonderfully and even better, it gave me a tangible experience of the challenges faced when managing a project where other people are involved and things do not always go as planned. It also provided me with some clear evidence that I have evolved throughout the residency program, as I was able to adapt and adjust to this change in a more systematic and productive fashion that I would have anticipated.

Needed: a leader or a manager? Well, it all depends on the situation…

Following our Leadership/Management session, us residents were given 3 scenarios and each asked to determine if we would choose either a manager or a leader to fill the roles. You know what they say: If you want a job done right, find the right person for the job! These were my thoughts and I would love to hear yours!

1) Someone to be responsible for organizing the upcoming 10th annual film festival.

A manager: I would prefer a manager in this case. Assuming the film festival has been successful over the past 10 years, the direction, vision and goals of the event are likely solidified. To ensure continued success, the organizer would require strength in planning and budgeting as well as organizing people and resources. This individual would also require the ability to employ creative problem solving in the face of dilemmas to ensure the event was well orchestrated and organized. A leader may change the ambience and direction of an already successful and established event. In this case, a person is needed to continue with the current course.

2) A captain of newly built star ship set to explore space.

A leader: I would prefer a leader in this case. The captain would be responsible for leading a group of people into the unknown and would require the ability to unify them towards a common vision during this long mission. The captain would need to empower his officers to run portions of the spacecraft relying on their expertise. The captain would need to motivate and inspire his crew to follow him/her daily and in periods of crisis. As the captain, he/she will require the skill to build the crew into a team and to forge alliances with new alien civilizations. A manager alone may not build a strong team or foster a good team spirit and establish direction for an extended mission with unpredictable outcomes.

3) You own a very successful cupcake business and now need someone to take over the first store of new cupcake franchise.

A manager: I would prefer a manager in this case. I have already created and executed a successful business plan/product and now I need a person to hire and organize staff, budget effectively, implement structure and problem solve technical difficulties within the new store. A store manager would be expected to follow a predetermined plan to create a store that parallels the current cupcake business. Changes to the store model or merchandise (e.g. new cupcake frosting) may not deliver the consistent product associated with the franchise name. A leader may make significant changes to the business when consistency is needed within a franchise. To illustrate the point, would you want someone changing the ingredients in your famous starship cupcakes? I most certainly would not.

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Leadership and management, what’s the difference anyways?

In our leadership and management session, we were asked to identify and reflect on the differences between management and leadership. So this is a summary of my understanding of the key differences.

Management involves the organization and coordination of people and resources to provide consistent results that meet the association’s goals. This involves budgeting and planning, organizing staff and innovative problem solving. A Manager with a title and the authority to allocate financial and human resources, to establish rules and regulations and to make changes in the institutional structure, often undertakes the responsibility of management. In short, management ensures things are done right.

Leadership is the ability to create a clear, shared vision of the future and to inspire others to work together to make this vision a reality. True leadership requires a clear direction, the capacity to align people and a passion that inspires others to work towards a common goal. Leadership is independent of title and each person has the ability to act as a leader. Managers can also be leaders, but not all leaders are managers by title. Leadership produces change.

We also discussed the six leadership styles, coercive, authoritative, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting and coaching, and the situations where each of these styles is most effective. What I found most interesting was that the best leaders have mastered not 1 but 4 or more of these styles (especially the most positive styles: authoritative, affiliative, democratic, and coaching). They are then capable of adapting to the various scenarios where these styles work best. I am really looking forward to observing and differentiating further between these styles during my up coming DPC rotations.

Personal Mission and Vision Statement for the Year

In our second leadership and management session, we discussed both our personal and VIHA core values. The VIHA core values are very clear. CARE: courage, aspire, respect and empathy. Us residents were then asked to select 5 values from a list as though these were the only 5 we could keep for the remainder of our lives. We each had some unique core values but the lists where quite typical of what you might expect of a healthcare clinician. It was an interesting session and the message I took from it was that being clear of our values is not only important, but also necessary to work effectively and to make important clinical decisions. That having this insight positively influences both career and life choices.

As I was reflecting on this session, I referred back to an exercise one of my mentors had suggested at the beginning of my residency. Create a personal mission and vision statement. There are many tools for this and I chose an article “How to create a Personal Mission and Vision Statement for the Year.” Fairly self-explanatory. Now for those who have not gone through this sort of exercise (and are probably wondering where this whole reflection is going), a vision statement combines core values with desired outcomes. I think of it as a statement that encompasses my values as well as my aspirations over the residency year. The mission statement portion describes how the goal will be achieved.

Now I have to admit that I was torn about sharing this on my blog but I decided to practice some courage and publish it:

My vision is to be a knowledgeable, empathetic and impactful member of the clinical pharmacy team. I am committed to building my confidence, knowledge base and leadership skills to realize this vision. My mission is to attain the skills and competencies required of a clinician to achieve the best possible, patient specific drug therapy outcomes.

So there it is, on my blog and my bathroom mirror. Let the games begin!

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