Valuable Leadership Styles for Pharmaceutical Executives

Valuable Leadership Styles for Pharmaceutical Executives

Pharmaceutical executives who are able to understand which leadership style best suits their organizational goals will be ready to handle the unpredictability of the market. They use this knowledge to make sound decisions, inspire their teams and achieve success.

Pharmaceutical executives need to be able to navigate through complex and ever-changing waters. They must have a variety of leadership styles in their arsenal so that they can effectively lead their teams. As leadership is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, it is important for executives to tailor their leadership style to the needs of their team or the situation at hand. But leadership is about more than just giving orders and expecting people to follow them.

Defining Leadership

Simply put, leadership is the ability to motivate, inspire and guide people so that they can achieve set goals or a common purpose. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, along with their different styles of leadership. They tend to set the tone for the organization, build genuine relationships, and bring out the best in people.

There are many different types of leaders within the pharmaceutical industry. These emerging leaders are pushing their organization to great heights because they have managed to channel the most effective leadership style for themselves. Success is just a matter of knowing which leadership style is the right one to implement in a specific environment or set of circumstances.

Whether you are a director, manager or hold a C-suite role within a pharma, biotech, medical device or life science organization, it is important to understand which leadership styles are currently gaining much influence in the industry.

Visionary Leadership

A visionary sees what no one else can see especially in the present time. In essence, they see things differently. Visionary leaders have a grand vision for the future and are dedicated to making it a reality. These forward-looking leaders are determined to help others believe in their vision. Visionaries are often able to notice hidden opportunities and have the courage to take all the necessary risks to make their vision come to life.

Visionary leaders help pharmaceutical companies decide where exactly they are headed and the reasoning behind it. The first step is to align the organization to move towards goals collectively and to clearly define each employee’s role in the grand scheme of things.

Due to consistent changes in pharmaceutical regulation, pandemic-related disturbances and the ongoing effects of digitization, visionary leaders could find themselves co-constructing their vision. Thus, futuristic thinking is an important facet of visionary leadership. Moreover, the aspiration to give people hope towards a brighter future is always crucial as well.

Strategic Leadership

Countless strategies are designed every day in alignment with the company’s vision. These strategies are a direct translation of the mission statement and they are also meant to be more actionable. Developing strategies can often fall under the responsibilities of directors and managers of companies. Strategic management is a part of every single organization, but mastering strategic leadership is not an easy endeavor.

What does the word “strategic” really mean? Being strategic at work is basically finding the best possible path to achieve a goal. Strategic leaders know how to think critically and navigate through daily challenges that are bound to emerge in this competitive market. Essentially, they are problem solvers who are always ready to combat challenges with novel solutions.

The pharmaceutical industry deals with threats such as product liability, cyberthreats, supply chain disruptions, competition from generic drugs and more. In order to thrive through the uncertainty these threats bring, it is important to develop the right strategies that can help combat these complex issues. Therefore, strategic intent is vital when making decisions.

Bureaucratic Leadership

One of the most long-standing forms of leadership has been bureaucratic leadership. Some might refer to this leadership style as outdated and not well associated with modern-day thinking patterns of today’s workforce. However, we can’t deny the fact that structure is a necessary component of most large organizations especially from a macro perspective. This type of leadership style can also be utilized in situations where supervision is needed.

Public health and regulatory compliance entities depend on bureaucratic leadership to run effectively. Big pharmaceutical companies require a system of hierarchy to accurately adhere to the legal and regulatory requirements for drug delivery, drug approval, supply chain and manufacturing processes. Bureaucratic leaders are task-oriented, accountable, firm and they put forth an organized management style.

Transformational Leadership

There is no doubt that those who remain agile will thrive in a constantly changing global marketplace. When new market disruptions occur, a transformational leadership style can be of great value. Transformational leaders know how to transform themselves and the organization. These leaders can be true change agents for pharmaceutical companies.

The process of transformation does require the ability to influence, motivate and inspire others while also building strong relationships. These leaders are often highly charismatic and act as role models for their employees. These disruptive leaders also aim to increase performance during times of change through morale, passion, mentorship and individual empowerment.

Collaborative Leadership

In order for cross-functional teams and departments to work together, they must collaborate effectively. Collaboration strategies are implemented by leaders to foster teamwork, build mutual respect amongst team members and nurture the team through coaching or mentoring.

Collaborative leadership is also focused on sharing power. This leadership style believes that any individual in the organization has the ability to stand up and be a leader when their capabilities are needed. Information flows to everyone equally in group settings and decisions are made collaboratively. Collaborative leaders do not seek power and control but center on democratically moving towards the greater good of the entire organization.

Situational Leadership

Situational leadership has become quite popular within the pharmaceutical industry over the years. Every situation requires its own unique style of leadership. This is why flexibility, adaptability and agility are strong attributes that situational leaders possess. They are solely dedicated to the situation at hand. Applying the situational leadership style means there is a possibility you can utilize any of the leadership styles mentioned above. But you must know which leadership approach is best suited for your circumstance and when to apply it.

Final Thoughts on Leadership Styles

Although these leadership styles are of very different natures, they also contain some commonalities. For example, all leaders must be willing to make tough decisions, be strong communicators, build trust within the team, be adaptive and ultimately have a strong desire for achievement.

Every other day we may hear of a new story about a leader that was able to completely revolutionize their business and come out victorious. Which is why leadership is a constantly evolving theme within the management and human sciences field. In the pharmaceutical industry, it is essential for executives to be able to possess a few key leadership styles so that they too can be successful.


Are you interested in finding your company’s future leaders or looking for a leadership role? Here is a simplified step-by-step guide to our very own Xtalks Job Search, a valuable resource that can get your talent search within the pharma and biotech industry started. If you have a question about Xtalks Job Search, speak to a customer support representative directly via LiveChat or drop us a message here.