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07/27/2022

Pharmacy leadership limits can be good!

Over the last couple articles, we have looked generally at the limitations we have as leaders. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It is simply a fact of life. We all have limits. Today, we are going to look at how limits can be good.

Over the last couple articles, we have looked generally at the limitations we have as leaders. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It is simply a fact of life. We all have limits.

Today, we are going to look at how limits can be good.

When I use the word “limit,” one of the first things that comes to mind is the speed limit on the road. These limits are in place to provide a benefit to us and the communities we travel through. 

While my first instinct today it to challenge leadership limits, it should also be noted that limits can be used in a beneficial way.

To illustrate this concept, let me refer to a scene from the 1995 movie, Apollo 13. It has been over 20 years since I last saw this movie, but it tells the story of the astronauts aboard the Apollo 13 rocket which when damaged on its way to the moon quickly became a mission to return the astronauts aboard safely to Earth. In this scene, set on Earth, a box of materials is dumped out on the table for the scientists and engineers at Mission Control to figure out a solution.

As a reminder, our working definition of leadership is anyone who get someone at some time to do something or go somewhere. In our example, the leaders at Mission Control were looking for ways to do something so the astronauts could go somewhere – namely home!

What I want you to take from this scene, however, is limitations. There were severe limitations put on the leadership. We could all quickly agree that leading people should be must easier with unlimited resources. Would I lead my people better if I had unlimited payroll? Yes, to some extent. But I do not have unlimited payroll.

When I face limits, it does little good to dwell on all the things that I do not have access to. The benefit can only come from focusing on what I do have available. This may require using some resources in an unconventional way.

In the pharmacy, we face all sorts of limits. Limits of staff, limits of product supply, limits of time in the day even. It was limits like these that gave birth to the idea of refill synchronization. I cannot claim that idea as my own, but I can claim working in limited settings that were absolutely liberated by using our resources in a new and unconventional (at the time) way. 

What is your attitude towards limitations? I cursed my limitations for some time. Today, however, I recognize that my limitations can actually grow my leadership. To take the limited resources available to me and use them to help lead others well. I encourage you today to take a more positive view of your limitations because they may help you find a new way to lead others well.

Until next time –

Jesse McCullough, PharmD

Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn

 

More Blog Posts In This Series

  • Pharmacy leaders – there's value in the pivot

    How many treatment algorithms have you seen changed over the course of your career? Several! And you know what? We will likely see some more in the coming years. Why did these changes happen?
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  • For pharmacists, it's not just where you are going…

    If we want to get to a better place, we need to define the place and lead the team there. Will it be easy? No, it will be difficult. And probably more difficult than you thought to begin with. But it will be rewarding. You will see your team come together in wonderful ways to advance to that goal.
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  • How many voices are you listening to in your pharmacy leadership?

    When last we met, we began to look at the concept of seasons and how it applies to our leadership. Today, we are going to look at things from a slightly different angle. We have established that we are all leaders. We all play a role in helping someone at some time do something or go somewhere.
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