Who says you need to know more to lead?

Five benefits for collective learning.

In pharmacy, like any other industry, where change is constant and adaptability is key, the paradigm is shifting from the traditional belief that ‘knowledge is the ultimate power’.

Daniel Goleman, a pioneer in emotional intelligence, introduces us to six distinct leadership styles, each with its unique strengths (scroll to the bottom to download a table that explains them further). What’s noteworthy is that the most impactful styles—authoritative, democratic, affiliative, and coaching—aren’t contingent on possessing an encyclopedic knowledge. something pharmacists for some reason expect they should have. Instead the leadership styles emphasize qualities like collaboration, empathy, self-awareness, and effective communication.

Leadership, in its essence, goes beyond the mere accumulation of facts and figures. It’s about being aware and accepting of your strengths and limitations and mastering the art of navigating complexities, inspiring teams, and fostering a positive pharmacy culture. When leaders adeptly use these emotionally intelligent styles, they can create cohesion within their teams, irrespective of their knowledge base.

If we park the concept that we must know more than our counterparts to help grow them, a transformative approach to upskilling emerges. Particularly when we are looking for upskill in the area of power skills such as emotional intelligence. This approach leans on Goleman’s most effective leadership style to allow us to lead from the middle and engage the team to learn collectively. This strategy doesn’t just promise growth; it delivers quick dividends.

Let’s explore five profound benefits for both leaders and teams that embrace this collective learning ethos.

  1. Shared Responsibility: Leaders don’t need to be the sole drivers of learning. By setting the direction (authoritative leadership) and then identifying team members naturally inclined towards becoming learning champions, leaders can distribute the responsibility. This collaborative approach decentralizes knowledge, promoting a culture of shared learning (democratic leadership).
  2. Relieving the Pressure: The expectation for leaders to know it all can be overwhelming. Collective learning across hierarchies diminishes the gap between leaders and team members (affiliative leadership). As teams learn together, concepts become familiar territory for everyone, making leadership less daunting.
  3. Ownership and Engagement: Teams that actively participate in their own upskilling initiatives display higher levels of engagement. Involving team members in the learning process, rather than imposing training, fosters a sense of ownership (coaching leadership). This, in turn, translates to improved long-term outcomes and a more motivated workforce.
  4. Accelerated Innovation: Collective learning sparks a collaborative mindset, opening avenues for innovation. As team members share diverse perspectives and knowledge, creative solutions emerge organically (democratic leadership). This culture of innovation is invaluable in today’s rapidly evolving pharmacy landscape.
  5. Cohesive Pharmacy Culture: Learning together fosters a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect (affiliative leadership). When teams engage in collective upskilling, they contribute to shaping a cohesive organizational culture where collaboration is celebrated, and each member feels valued for their unique contributions.

In the journey of leadership, where emotional intelligence is the linchpin, the collective learning approach stands as a beacon. By acknowledging that knowledge is not confined to the leader alone, but a shared resource within the team, we pave the way for a more inclusive and empowered team. As we navigate the complexities ahead, let’s embrace the power of collaborative learning, for if pharmacists are really to shift into full-scope of practice roles, it is how they, and pharmacy, will thrive.

Learn More about Goleman’s Six Emotionally Intelligent Leadership Styles

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