Everyone that has ever worked in a corporate position has had a manager. If you worked or are working as a pharmaceutical professional, you likely have a District Manager. Each manager brings different skills and attributes to the table. Some we love and some we hate. The managers that we loved over the years, likely had qualities or professional traits that have stuck in your mind as qualities you would love to emulate if you ever become a manager in your career. The managers that we hated likely had qualities that you swore to yourself you would never adopt when you led your own teams. When you put the good qualities next to the bad qualities that any manager brings to the professional arena, you come to a conclusion….that conclusion is whether or not your manager “gets it”. Here are some qualities that a manager in pharmaceuticals possesses that signify if they get it or not:
Does my manager “get it”?
Is he/she respectful of your personal time? There is plenty of busy work associated with pharmaceutical sales. When I was a rep, I was required to send a list of every single sales call I made in the previous week, to my manager on Sunday evenings. This was altogether annoying because the truth of the matter was, that my manager had the ability to pull this information up on his own. Knowing that manager, it was likely not his initiative and rather the initiative of his manager the Regional Director, but it served no real purpose. Every Sunday I would dread having to get on to my computer on my day off and put together this list to send off. I hated it so much that when I became a manager, I literally let my team know that there would be no work done on weekends unless absolutely necessary. I explained that the weekends and time after work was their time to spend with family, friends or doing anything that pleased them. I know they respected me for it and it was different than what other managers were doing. I was lucky enough to have an RD who trusted my judgement and allowed me to run my team as I saw fit. and lastly, when there was a pressing issue that needed to be handled on their off time, they were more willing to execute because it was not an every weekend type thing. So if your manager expects you to do weekend work infringing on your family/personal time, and acts as if this is common or expected, he/she does not “get-it”!
What time does he/she meets you for a field ride? As I came up through the ranks, I had pretty cool managers over the years, who did not infringe on my personal time. Never did I have to meet a manager for a field ride before 8:30 AM and many times they would meet me at 9 AM. This shows respect for your time. If a manager asks you to meet him/her at 7:30 AM…this is just silly and ridiculous….this is someone who simply does not “get it”! I had a counterpart manager who told me she would go to her reps homes at 7:30 am and sit at their breakfast table with the reps family. My jaw dropped to the floor when I heard this as this is altogether an infringement of that employees privacy. Needless to say that manager did not last very long…because she just didn’t “get-it”!
Is he/she realistic about reach & frequency? In the world of pharmaceuticals the term “reach & frequency” basically means, which physicians are you getting in front of and how many times you get in front of them to deliver a sales call. Different markets bring different challenges to hitting your reach & frequency goals. For example if there is a hospital system in your territory that has bought up all of the private offices and that hospital system has a directive to not allow pharmaceutical reps in, then you are screwed. However, there is always that manager who is completely unrealistic with reach & frequency and expects you to somehow circumvent the entire system and somehow see physicians that no one else on planet earth are able to see. Now in defense of the manager out there, plenty of reps will say they cannot see certain physicians without truly trying. It is a difficult thing to figure out unless the manager has worked that territory on his/her own previous to becoming manager. The bottom line is, it is virtually impossible to reach every doctor on your panel and the managers that expect you to overcome an entire hospital system to see certain doctors simply do not “get it”.
Does your manager speak at you or with you? In pharmaceuticals, there has been a heavy emphasis on what is called “Emotional Intelligence”. In short, under the emotional intelligence umbrella there is self-regulation, empathy, self-awareness, and so forth. It teaches any professional to be aware of their actions, how they speak to people, how they react to others, and to understand how they are being perceived by others. Even with this in-your-face training that everyone gets on emotional intelligence or emotional awareness, there are still many managers who get power drunk and do not know how to speak to their team. They just don’t realize that saying things like “do this” or “do that” turns people off. They fail to have an interactive conversation that integrates ideas from their employees. They fail to say things like “what are your thoughts on….” which gives the employee a platform to share their ideas and professional opinions. This type of language makes anyone feel as if they are being heard. So ask yourself…”is my manager speaking at me or with me”? If they speak at you….they simply do not “get it”!
Does your manager show you the “how-to” or do they just say, “go do this”? When it comes to management 101, the very first thing a manager should be taught is that you cannot expect someone to do something expertly that they were never taught to do. In order for someone to complete a task effectively, especially if it the first time, they must be shown the “how-to”. Once they are shown the “how-to”, they should be given the freedom to execute but still given the necessary stand-by support. When they become an expert, they can handle it on their own. So if your manager asks you to do something you have never been told how to do, this is a manager who doesn’t “get-it”!
Do you have other examples of a manager who just does “get it”….if so, leave a comment…we’d love to hear from you!!