Think leadership isn’t for you? Think again

marianneby Marianne MacDonald, RPS Leadership Workstream Project Manager

Think of a great leader you’ve worked with in your career

Was it someone who swooped in to ‘save the day’, imposing an autocratic vision for change? Or was it someone in the background who engaged a whole team to care enough to want to make a difference?

Often if we are asked to think of a great leader, it’s an example of the former – the ‘hero’ leader – that automatically springs to mind. While this type of leader has a role (usually in a crisis situation), it also means that leadership is reserved for the very few in the upper echelons of an organisation. It’s also an outmoded concept of leadership.

Current thinking is that it is the engaging leader who works in partnership with a network of people who is the most effective. The RPS knows from the work it does with pharmacists that this is true for pharmacy too.

Leadership is for everyone

The RPS sees examples of these engaging leaders every day, the ones with the passion to challenge the status quo and make the difference to the way things are done, for the benefit of their team, their organisation and ultimately, patients and their health outcomes. This is across every sector and level of the profession. It doesn’t matter whether you are a student or a pre-registration trainee or the superintendent of a large multiple with a staff of thousands, leadership is for everyone.

So, while the RPS has a critical role in leading the profession, so does every member. If you think you’re not the leadership type, then the RPS is working to change that perception. At the end of the year it is launching a new Leadership Development Framework that embodies the concept of collective, engaging leadership for the profession.

This is built on the work of the NHS Leadership Academy’s Healthcare Leadership Model (HLM).  The HLM outlines nine key leadership domains and their accompanying behaviours. Importantly, this model distils global leadership thinking from healthcare and non-healthcare sources, so it is as applicable for a pharmacist working in community pharmacy as it is for a pharmaceutical scientist in a global R&D role.

Where to start?

Over the next couple of months we will be running a survey to benchmark pharmacists’ leadership beliefs and launching the framework and accompanying handbook.

We’re also running another of our popular leadership masterclasses, taking place on 12 December 2014 and designed for pharmacists in hospital and academia who are managing teams at all levels. The masterclass will support you to develop your own leadership style, overcome challenges and understand the changes to leadership culture taking place.

Next year we will be providing more leadership support in the form of support tools, so drop me a note if there’s something you would like to see. We’re looking into more events, webinars and creating a Leadership Forum where we can all learn from each other. This is just the start. The RPS’ vision is to have every pharmacist and every pharmaceutical scientist in GB developing their leadership skills, whether patient-facing or not.

Hopefully you too will share this vision – that pharmacy leadership is for everyone, wherever they are.


For more information or to make suggestions on support, please contact email me at

Find out more and book your place on the leadership masterclass via the RPS website.

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