Need a Leader for Your Organization? Hire a Pharmacy Manager!


Businesses need great leaders. An often unconsidered source for leadership talent are successful pharmacy managers!

Great companies need great management and great leadership. This is because only great managers and leaders can take talented individuals and turn them into high-performing teams. Bad leadership wastes talent, divides teams and creates harmful turnover. Bad management is expensive too. A Harvard Business Review article quotes a statistic suggesting that poor talent at the top costs the US economy as much as $398 billion dollars annually.1 Great leaders, on the other hand, pull great people together and through them accomplish amazing things.

Finding great management can be hard. To quote the title of Lee Iacocca’s bestseller, “Where Have All the Leaders Gone?” While entry level help and talent are not too difficult to find for those who are reasonably connected, finding people prepared to lead teams is notoriously challenging. You might simply look through resumes and LinkedIn profiles for people with management experience. In my opinion, many managers have been coddled by their companies with cushy jobs that hardly prepare them for the real work involved in growing a business.

That’s why I recommend companies think outside the box when it comes to finding a leader. Look for successful pharmacy managers to lead your team! They may not have an Ivy League business degree or MBA (though some do!), but they know a thing or 2 about managing and leading a group of individuals toward maximum performance and success.

Here are some of the top reasons that a successful pharmacy manager is a GREAT prospect for your organizations leadership:

Pharmacy managers are problem solvers. Anyone can find problems. And growing companies have their share of them. But solving problems, and doing so rapidly enough to keep things moving, is a skill developed in the trenches of real-life everyday pharmacies. Pharmacy managers deal with metric problems, budget problems, people problems, staffing problems and technology problems. They can handle your business problems too!

Pharmacy managers know how to work WITH teams and not just dictate rules and goals. You see, in most situations the pharmacy manager must work side by side with his/her staff in the pharmacy. The challenges faced on the front lines are THEIR challenges too. They can’t just bark orders and go back to their office and muse about their macho management style. They don’t have offices (usually). They work with the team they are leading, feeling the pains, seeing the success, feeling the impact of every new initiative.

Pharmacy managers think about efficiency…all the time. Inefficiencies abound in many businesses, and waste tens of thousands of dollars. But community pharmacy has NO room for inefficiency. It is a high pressure, high volume, rapidly moving business that demands an expert level of efficiency to stay safe and stay ahead. Others may have experience managing relatively easy departments. But as someone once said “anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” The sea is never calm in a typical retail pharmacy! You need all hands on deck. Do you think you know how to get the most out of your employees? Put a pharmacy manager from a successful and busy pharmacy in your leadership and see what happens.

Pharmacy managers care about people. There are plenty of jobs in pharmacy these days for individuals who just like to read books and spew out answers. But management and leadership is a people-job. Pharmacy managers have to become experts in people management and customer relations in order to succeed. Think about it. What business market is more people-focused than health care?

Pharmacy managers don’t think of work as a 9 am to 5 pm thing. Retail pharmacy jobs are rarely a “punch in at 9 am and go home at 5 pm” kind of life. Pharmacy managers work long days, sometimes 12 hours or more on their feet doing intensely-detailed and focused work in a difficult and distracting atmosphere. They work nights, weekends, and holidays — because people don’t get sick just on the weekdays during business hours. And great managers and leaders aren’t the type that look at the clock and leave their work behind them. Yes, they must know how to balance work and life needs, but life happens and pharmacy managers have learned to weather the ups and downs of issues that occur at all times of the day and week.

So, does your organization need someone like that to take your product and people to the next level? While you might be inclined to look for another cookie-cutter manager from a business school, I would urge you to at least to consider thinking outside the box and looking at pharmacy managers for leadership rolls. You might be surprised how many would be willing to take their career in a new direction, even outside health care, to enjoy the satisfaction of leading a great team and great product into new levels of success.


1. Fuller R, Shiakaloff N. What great Managers do daily. Harvard Business Review. Dec. 14, 2016 Accessed May 20, 2017.

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