Top 6 Recommendations for New Pharmacy Managers

If you are becoming a pharmacy manager, here are some dos and don'ts to help you lead your team to success.

Moving up in your pharmacy career is exciting, rewarding, and most importantly, challenging. Individuals are often promoted based on their ability to succeed in the current position rather than their knowledge base to succeed in the job they are being promoted to perform. If you are being promoted, you are probably aware you have knowledge gaps preventing you from immediate success and may not be fully prepared to take on the leadership aspects that are required of you. You may never become fully prepared before your promotion but there are plenty of things that you can do before your first day.

1. Meet with your current and future supervisors to discuss job expectations. When you applied for the pharmacy manager position you looked up the qualifications, day-to-day operations, and you may even have some experience from your previous position, especially if you are an experienced staff pharmacist. If you want a smooth transition, you should meet with your supervisors to learn the ins and outs of the store you will be transitioning into. What are they doing well? Where are they missing? Do they have any information for why they aren’t succeeding? Have they met their goals? Who helped them reach their goals? How much part did the previous manager have in meeting those goals? Have there been legal issues that you area aware of in the past? Are there any current outstanding cases which you would be responsible for managing?

2. Meet with the current pharmacy manager. You are transitioning into their spot that will be major changes for the current staff regardless of your differing personalities. Meeting with the current pharmacy manager to evaluate their leadership style will help you identify changes that will be coming to the staff and prevent friction as much as possible. Does he/she have a task list where you prefer to orally manage your staff? Does he/she have a soft approach with staff and patients or are they able to address them firmly? How do you address patients and staff? Some other questions that might be beneficial to know may include; why are you leaving this position? What do you think you did really well to manage this pharmacy? If you were presented with this position again, would you take it? Why or why not?

3. Assess your current team. Whether you know individuals on your team or not it is always beneficial to reassess your team’s strengths and weaknesses. You may be going into a situation where your team needs training, or coming into a team whom is high functioning and can run on autopilot. It’s important to have an idea of what you will be onboarding to ensure you can create a proper action plan after you have settled in. Some helpful ideas would be to read their training files, all documentation on conversations, reading past meeting notes, write-ups or discipline issued, and past reviews.

4. Create a wish list for your entire team. You can gain trust with your team by allowing them to fill out a wish list. Provide your team with an opportunity to fill out a questionnaire that includes 3 things they do well and 3 things they would change and how. If you could update drug locations over the span of 2 weeks and your pharmacy staff would be happier and more motivated, why wouldn’t you? By creating the wish list you will get a great overall view of changes that you could be making with the staff to create a happier work environment they will support and assist you making those necessary changes.

5. Strictly monitor your team for the first week or two. You should not make any changes for at least a week, if not 2. Monitor their behaviors and where they are excelling or require more training. Every time you see something you want to change, write it down and keep a list. At the end of the two weeks assess your lists and break them down into categories. Customer Service, workflow, training, and miscellaneous. Break down your comments into each of these categories to determine where you want to begin with making changes.

6. Make one change every week to reach your goals. You cannot enter a new pharmacy and make multiple changes every day it will create confusion and frustration on your staff. If you make changes too drastically you will be giving them the impression they were doing things wrong before and you will receive push back and negativity in return. For example, if you are making changes to when or how a task is completed, it’s important to explain there are more efficient ways to complete each task and you are going to try it this way for a few weeks to see if collectively the pharmacy can run more efficiently. Also allow your team to make suggestions to the changes that you make to involve your entire team.