The number one powerful (yet painful) question

Changing well-worn habits is hard. Whether it’s food choices, exercise, or changing a pharmacy system, change can feel one step forward, two steps back. When this happens, it’s easy to look outwards, but what happens if you turn the blow torch in the other direction? Inwards.

Thinking about this makes me think back to a time when I was trying desperately to change a system within the Pharmacy I managed. Trying to find reasons why it wasn’t working, I looked at each of our staff members. A couple would say they were on board but thought they were above actually using the new system, one would avoid the new and old system entirely so they didn’t have to try and, thankfully, a couple were go-getters and tried their best to use the new system the best they could. This would leave them (and me) frustrated with those who were not putting their best foot forward.

When it came down to it, I blamed those stragglers who weren’t complying. I blamed how busy we were and the lack of time to go slower and let a new system sink in. After trying to appease the go-getters and tip-toe around the laggards, I realised there was one place I hadn’t looked, inward.

So, it was time the ask myself the coaching questions that always burns…

What are you contributing to the problem?

Of course, I wanted to say nothing, I had tried really hard! But after sitting with the question for a while I realised a few things. The person avoiding the use of either system was now scared and I had not attempted to figure out why. The few who would say they were on board but thought they were above using it were the people I hadn’t consulted building this new system. Because of this, I missed some key elements and relied on the fact that because the system was easy for me, it would be easy for them. Plus, and this is a kicker… when I saw people revert to using the old system, I said nothing.

As a leader, no action is often action itself.

I had contributed to the problem by missing the mark in my leadership.

This isn’t a ‘woe is me’ story, it speaks to a crucial fact of life, one I wish to share with you…

While the problem is ‘out there’ we can’t change it. We sit as a victim in a situation powerless to influence it. When we bring the problem ‘in here’ we become accountable and we can take action.

In an emotional intelligence sense, this is about self-management. To achieve, maintain and enhance success, as leaders, we need to pay conscious attention to how we behave and the way we lead others.

No doubt you likely have a challenge that you’re currently presented with. Ask yourself this question:

‘what are you contributing to the problem?’

As emotionally intelligent pharmacist leader’s we need to be comfortable enough to ask this question. Sure, it will be uncomfortable. Your first reaction might be to deny any contribution so be brave and look beyond that. This self-awareness will build new doors to open before your eyes.


The Emotionally Intelligent Pharmacy Leader’s Program.

Helping leaders find more doors to open by doing the inner work that makes action more effective.

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