The President's Message - Leadership

by Chris Rivers, ICHP President
June 1, 2012

In a recent issue of KeePosted, Scott Meyers asked “Are You Ready to Take the Lead?”  Volunteering in leadership roles is an integral part of ICHP’s organizational puzzle.   Many people do not think they possess leadership ability, but there are many different types of leadership styles.

Leadership styles are dynamic and applicable in different situations, whether in your involvement as a civic leader, a church leader or organizer, or leader of a professional or social organization.  The situations may be different, but successful leadership qualities remain the same and include recognition of situational demands; flexibility with type of style; adaptation of the leadership styles to realize successful outcomes, and ensuring the adapted style meets your personality.

To balance the demands of the situation with the leader’s own needs and personalities, two questions should come to mind: What is your natural leadership style? What are you good at? What strengths and weaknesses do you have? And, second, what leadership style does your job demand? What are the needs of the situation? What do you have to do to be a successful leader?  To achieve this balance, it is suggested you recognize your own strengths and use them.  There are several types of leadership styles:1
  1. People-oriented, motivator:  These leaders build personal relationships; possess interpersonal skills and care for others.    
  2. Ideological leaders are driven by values, have passion for key issues, focus on important themes and champions causes. They tend to lead groups that may be doing too many things or have lost a sense of direction or identity.    
  3. The Change-Oriented leader focuses efforts on projects that are new or on prototypes; introduces change, looks for unexpected outcomes, creates new opportunities and experiments. They stabilize a group.
  4. The Visionary leader anticipates and forecasts the future. They cultivate long term vision.
  5. Action Oriented leaders command and lead by example, which results in products.
  6. The qualities of Goal Oriented leaders include observing, listening and clarifying goals through establishing realistic expectations.
  7. Executive leaders organize, strategize, set measurable goals, coordinate work of different people and manage resources.    
  8. Leadership theorists analyze models, yield explanations, compare other situations and are involved in intellectual debates.   
In his book “Principle-Centered Leadership”, Dr. Stephen Covey conveys a long term approach to developing people and organizations, a model that we center our lives an our leadership of organizations and people on certain “true north” principles. In the following excerpt from this book, Dr. Covey describes different aspects of principle-centered leaders:

  1. They are continually learning. Principle-centered people are constantly educated by their experiences. They read, they seek training, they take classes, they listen to others, they learn through both their ears and their eyes. They are curious, always asking questions. They continually expand their competence, their ability to do things. They develop new skills, new interests. They discover that the more they know, the more they realize they don’t know; that as their circle of knowledge grows, so does its outside edge of ignorance. Most of this learning and growth energy is self-initiated and feeds upon itself.
  2. They are service-oriented. Those striving to be principle-centered see life as a mission, not as a career. Their nurturing sources have armed and prepared them for service. In effect, every morning they “yoke up” and put on the harness of service, thinking of others.
  3. They radiate positive energy. The countenances of principle-centered people are cheerful, pleasant, and happy; their attitude is optimistic, positive, and upbeat. Their spirit is enthusiastic, hopeful, believing.
  4. They believe in other people. Principle-centered people don’t overreact to negative behaviors, criticism, or human weaknesses. They don’t feel built up when they discover the weaknesses of others. They are not naÏve; they are aware of weakness. But they realize that behavior and potential are two different things. They believe in the unseen potential of all people. They feel grateful for their blessings and feel naturally to compassionately forgive and forget the offenses of others. They don’t carry grudges. They refuse to label other people, to stereotype, categorize, and prejudge.  Truly, believing is seeing. We must, therefore, seek to believe in the unseen potential. This creates a climate for growth and opportunity. Self-centered people believe that the key lies in them, in their techniques, in doing “their thing” to others. This works only temporarily. If you believe it’s “in” them, not “in” you, you relax, accept, affirm, and let it happen.
  5. They lead balanced lives. They read the best literature and magazine and keep up with current affairs and events. They are active socially, having many friends and a few confidants. They are active intellectually, having many interests. They read, watch, observe, and learn. Within the limits of age and health, they are active physically. They have a lot of fun. They enjoy themselves. Their actions and attitudes are proportionate to the situation—balanced, temperate, moderate, wise. For instance, they’re not workaholics, religious zealots, political fanatics, diet crashers, food bingers, pleasure addicts, or fasting martyrs.
  6. They see life as an adventure. Principle-centered people savor life. Because their security comes from within instead of from without, they have no need to categorize and stereotype everything and everybody in life to give them a sense of certainty and predictability.
  7. They are synergistic. Synergy is the state in which the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Principle-centered people are synergistic. They are change catalysts. They improve almost any situation they get into. They work as smart as they work hard. They are amazingly productive, but in new and creative ways. In team endeavors they build on their strengths and strive to complement their weaknesses with the strengths of others.
  8. They exercise for self-renewal. Finally, they regularly exercise the four dimensions of the human personality: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. They participate in some kind of balanced, moderate, regular program of aerobic exercise, meaning cardiovascular exercise—using the large leg muscles and working the heart and lungs. This provides endurance—improving the capacity of the body and brain to use oxygen—along with many other physical and mental benefits. Also valuable are stretching exercises for flexibility and resistance exercises for strength and muscle tone.
I hope you reflect back to Scott’s question about taking the lead and thinking about your role in advancing the profession of pharmacy.

  1. Team Technology.  Leadership Styles. (accessed 2012 May 3).
  2. Covey SR. Principle-Centered Leadership. New York: Simon & Schuster; 1991:33-39.

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