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'When it comes to flexible working, managers need to be leaders'

"Whether you are a manager or leader, the way you behave and treat people is important"

Negotiating a recent job offer left The Pharmacy Technician pondering the difference between good management and good leadership

The way I see it is that people in senior roles should have some leadership skills, but that isn’t to say that they should necessarily be managers.

Managers are integral to the running of a pharmacy. They will focus on following procedures and ensuring that the staff adhere to all the company’s rules and regulations.

Whereas a leader could be anyone within your team. Leaders have a specific set of skills which allows them to be more open, honest and approachable. They will encourage and motivate their team by being supportive and nurturing.

Something that I have recently experienced is being on the receiving end of a manager’s insensitive behaviour. Let me try and set the scene for you.

I had been offered a job. "Wonderful", you say. I happened to agree at the time, but it soon became apparent that my soon to be manager was not very flexible.

This job meant that I would be travelling approximately 70 miles every day, so I decided to suggest a few ways that could improve the situation that wouldn’t affect the business and projects.

Unfortunately, the line manager to be wasn’t too keen on listening to my suggestions, thoughts or feelings. I kept getting the same response via email: "Thank you for your email. I understand your feelings towards the travelling, BUT….". After reading these emails, I felt frustrated, upset and undervalued.

This is a managerial approach to a situation, as this person was following the company procedures to the letter, which from their point of view is correct. However, I feel whether you are a manager, leader or both, the way in which you behave and treat people is more important than anything else.

In an ideal world, the manager would have contacted me directly. We could have discussed all the concerns, listened to each other and decided how we could both deal with the situation.

The conclusion to this is that I didn’t take the job, and I must admit that it was mainly due to the way in which I was being treated by that one person. I felt as though my thoughts and feelings just didn’t matter to the organisation.

So, what do you think? Am I a leader?

The Pharmacy Technician locums in community pharmacy

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Are you considering changing your pharmacy career? C+D clinical editor Kristoffer Stewart spoke to Aamer Safdar – Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) English pharmacy board member and principal pharmacist lead for education and development at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust – to find out how pharmacy staff can make the most of their current role, and what those considering making a move should consider. You can find the podcast here

7 Comments

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I once learnt that a big no-no is to say "I understand the thing you mentioned, but..."

But means you might as well disregard anything you said before that. I've done a 70-mile commute on a temporary basis as well, so I can totally empathise how tedious that journey can be, three hours in the car sometimes depending on who's the latest fatality on the road (there was only one today).

Although as a locum, you have to consider you're also getting paid more per hour for the hassle, and also your mileage is being paid for as well. So there's ups and downs to it.

It's an interesting point you raise about leaders and managers.

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

Mileage is very rarely paid these days. I used to do well over 200 miles on a round trip every day which was OK when I got mileage but stopped pretty sharply once I didn't. However, it was my choice to do the miles. In the above case, the mileage was part of the job and she shouldn't have applied if it was going to be a problem. To suggest changes even before you have started the job implies to me someone who has an over-inflated ego and would be disruptive to the business

 

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

If I had someone trying to change the business before they'd even started, I'd wonder if I'd picked the right candidate. Lucky escape for the business, I'd say.

C A, Community pharmacist

So you hadn't even started the job, or been travelling the commute?

"I decided to suggest a few ways that could improve the situation that wouldn’t affect the business and projects."

In your opinion. Unless you state them, how are we to know? They may well not have gelled with the business needs.

"Unfortunately, the line manager to be wasn’t too keen on listening to my suggestions, thoughts or feelings. I kept getting the same response via email: "Thank you for your email.""

Are you complaining that your not quite yet boss responded in the same format as you initiated the query? While I agree email is the best way to put ideas like those forward, as it gives the manager a chance contemplate them, did you mention that you would like to discuss them face to face or over the phone? (If you did I appologise). Some people can be a bit dim and not think of this sort of thing. So yes possibly a bad manager.

"In an ideal world, the manager would have contacted me directly."

Sorry - this is pharmacy - have you seen the state of it lately? It's nowhere near ideal.

Z Z, Pharmacy Asistant/ Medicine Counter Assistant

You simply have a bad manager. Not wanting you to go elsewhere is a classic sign of this. 

Simon Sinek has it pretty much right. There are authorities and there are leaders. Many managers are authorities. Authority figures people will do what they do because they have to, but it may not be to the best of their abilities. Usually people do things despite these people.

C A, Community pharmacist

It wasn't her current manager - "that my soon to be manager was not very flexible"

Z Z, Pharmacy Asistant/ Medicine Counter Assistant

Ah yes good spot. The person's writing is about as clear as mine then!

Not a bad current manager then. Just the tech has missed out on working in a bad workplace. No loss there. I feel it's a bit of a non-story. 

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