Tip of the Week: Use Mindfulness To Be An Effective Leader


Effective pharmacy managers help everyone to see the proverbial forest through the trees.

Many researchers have tried to define what makes a successful leader. There are more than a few leadership theories and there are a few unifying themes that tie together many of these theories and much of what has been said about leadership. It’s been argued that successful leaders who truly make an impact in the world begin all efforts with a deep understanding of “why,” which always precedes the “who” or “what” of any endeavor.

This concept of “why” is expounded upon by researcher Linda Roussel, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNL, FAAN, in her treatise on leadership and its impact.1 She discusses the concept of mindfulness, or mindful leadership. The mindful leader is one who can read the signposts and see the bigger picture when other team members are hesitant about where to go and how to get there. Mindful leaders co-create opportunities for small successes along the way, providing ways to further improve and excel in meeting organizational systems’ desired quality outcomes. The mindful leader paves a path for the entire organization for effectiveness and efficiency in delivering safe, high-quality care.

Mindfulness comes from the aforementioned activity of asking “Why?” The world and all that it comprises are so much more interconnected than we might think they are. When a supervisor makes a change in staff job descriptions, regardless of the position, mindfulness would suggest an understanding that this will impact employee morale, their energy and propensity for burnout, the quality of care delivered, patients’ safety, operational costs, and even appearances to customers and other stakeholders. Very seldom is a change all good or all bad. There will be reverberations throughout the system, likely with a multitude of both positive and deleterious consequences.

When a manager makes a decision without the knowledge of all that will be impacted, however, that decision will often be a poorer one. There is no such thing as a decision based solely on customer service, solely on patient safety, solely on employee morale, solely on efficiency, solely on getting more work done, solely on changing the aesthetic appeal of a pharmacy business, etc. Everything done has an impact on everything else that you do.

The mindful leader has a better understanding of interrelationships because they have grappled with the question of why. Truly transcendent, mindful leaders are those who use communication, relationship-building, and situational awareness. They model extraordinary collaboration skills and thus improve the “what if” thinking of their employees, as well. They groom them to be more careful observers and questioners of why. Every decision made will have an effect on quality, costs, and outcomes concurrently. Effective pharmacy managers help everyone to see the proverbial forest through the trees.

Additional information about Leadership in Pharmacy Practice can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e.

About the Author

Shane P. Desselle, PhD, RPh, FAPhA, is a professor of social and behavioral pharmacy at the Touro University California College of Pharmacy.


Roussel L. Leadership’s impact on quality, outcomes, and costs. Critical Care Nurs Clinics North Amer. 2019;31(2):153-163.

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