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How can pharmacists achieve "next level leadership"? Part 2

What if I am contributing to the development of other leaders around me and they can see things from a unique perspective – a perspective that I do not have? That's when magic happens.

While we have a model for the principle of contribution built into pharmacy with the preceptor/intern role, it can become so much more. We all spend only so much time as an intern, and then can find ourselves off on our own. 

There is an old proverb that reads: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

This statement is so true. The only caveat I would add is that I find that many people are going nowhere fast! They are going fast, but they are not getting anywhere. The principle of contribution is the application of this proverb. When we go together, all sorts of things become possible.

I have likely made a statement in this forum before about how when the pandemic started, there was not a company on planet earth that looked around and said, “We have too many leaders.” To the contrary, the new environment demanded more leaders and more perspectives to navigate the changing terrain. How do you get more leaders and more perspectives? The principle of contribution tells us that we develop them.  Intentionally. Consistently. As we do this, we greatly expand our capacity to solve problems and lead people to better destinations.

While this principle works and is so impactful, it is a shame that it is practised so infrequently. If you are one of the very few who do practise it, please accept my thanks for the contributions you are making to the profession. If you are one of the many who do not currently practise this principle, be encouraged. Be encouraged because there is no high threshold preventing you from starting right now, right where you are. The only thing you need is to find someone to contribute to.

There is an added benefit to practising the principle of contribution. Believe it or not, it is actually a benefit I experience each time I sit down to write this column. The benefit is that I get to learn the lesson again. If I share the lesson with three people, they each hear the lesson once, but I have the benefit of hearing the lesson three times. I will readily admit that you are much smarter than I am. To that end, you may only need to be presented something once to “get it.” But not me. Sometimes I have to be taught the same lesson a few times to learn it. When you contribute to others, you have the distinct opportunity to learn again and again. Each time you contribute, you have the opportunity to reinforce the learning with yourself. I may actually go so far as to say that one of the most selfish things you can do as a leader is to contribute to developing other leaders around you. At the same time, it is also the most selfless things you can do to grow and equip and empower other leaders to make a great impact.

I encourage you today to start a list of people you are going to contribute to. Look at those closest to you. Your team. Your family. Wherever you can find someone is a great place to start. As time goes on, your list will expand. Who knows? Perhaps one day you will find yourself writing (and contributing) to a bunch of pharmacists….  After all, you are on my list.

Until next time

Jesse McCullough, PharmD

Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn

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