Leading a biotech organization can be described by some as complex, intriguing, transformational, stressful, and impactful. Sounds like a lot to manage, doesn’t it? Those who fill leadership roles in these organizations are tasked with going up against challenges and facing situations that are not fluid across all industries. Biotech can involve clinical trials, drug development, medical equipment, and a plethora of other aspects within the industry.
The common denominator here is that those paving the way in this industry are having a direct impact on how we move modern medicine forward, treat diseases and ailments that have been challenging even for some of the brightest teams, and improve the quality of life for people all over the globe. With this comes leadership that requires unique character traits and skills. Here are three traits every biotech CEO and leader should have.
Have you ever reflected on a situation and only afterwards realized how uncomfortable it was for you at that time? How were you feeling then? Showing empathy for others within the workplace is critical to the health temperature within the organization. If we do not show our hearts to our colleagues in a transparent manner, how will we ever trust one another?
Empathy aligns with creating an environment of listening and sharing information freely because we feel safe. Empathy, especially in the biotech industry, should be demonstrated as we are working on products to help patients feel better and achieve a greater quality of life.
As leaders, we are often enthusiastic about the work that we do. One downfall of having a strong level of passion is that it can potentially lead us to respond or react in ways that might intimidate team members. There may be a situation where your voice gets loud, or you might come across as frustrated or angry due to body language.
No matter how excited or eager we get as a result of our passion and dedication to the goal at hand, it is critical that we remain patient, take a step back, take a breath, actively listen, and think before we respond. Passion isn’t a bad thing, but it must be balanced with patience and self-awareness so that we embrace the full circle of communication with our team members. My father who was a laborer and a union man used to give teams advice on the art of listening. He would always say, “Do not listen to react. Listen to really listen. Digest what is being said before you say anything.” To this day, this still holds true across all industries, especially biotech.
In the biotech industry, it is imperative that we are always operating at the highest level of ethics and integrity. If subject safety is being impacted, it is a must that we ensure all subjects are safe. Subjects in clinical trials are our priority. Data must be clean and concise. All adverse events and serious adverse events need to be reported. Finding out this information later in the process, after a drug is approved by the FDA, can cause massive criminal and civil issues for a company and potential detriment to subjects and their families.
No matter how big or small your biotech organization is, it is critical to lead with empathy, patience, thoughtfulness, and ethics to ensure that you are doing what is right for your team, your subjects, and the families of which your work is having an impact on.
Written by Christina DiArcangelo.
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