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The Grouchy Pharmacist: Take me to your leader


Leadership, self-nominated awards and a healthy dose of self-promotion, here we go again…


If you had the misfortunate to catch a bit of the Twitter over the past week you’ll be forgiven for thinking that pharmacy is comprised of a pile of leaders and a bunch of wanna be leaders hanging on every word of the chosen few who habitually man the podia and stages of pharmacy events up and down our country.


Leadership appears to be the new pharmaceutical care. It’s the latest pharmacy zeitgeist. It’s ubiquitous.


It’s also really annoying.


But it’s clearly a revenue generator for private companies harnessing the benefits of this tidal surge in interest in the hallowed and humble words of the wise self-appointed leaders who clearly spend little time leading and most of it at conferences, or reading books about leadership.




Meanwhile slogging away in the trenches, pharmacists, most of them thankfully oblivious to the golden leadership nuggets handed out like Maundy money to conference attendees hoping to benefit from the reflective glory of ‘leaders’, just get on with the daily grind.


You see, for me, when we talk about leaders, we assume that there are the half-witted drones that mindlessly follow them and fall into their clever management traps. The leaders I know and respect in pharmacy would shy away from being called a ‘leader’ — they just get on with their job and naturally take people with them. No fancy words, self-promotion and famous quotes from them. They don’t try to spread the ‘leadership’ infection.


Anyway, where are the checks and balances on these self-appointed leadership superstars? A few woke comments, cynical self-promotion finished off by an inspirational quote and off they go. Throw in a self-nominated award and we will shortly arrive at leadership utopia.


Yes, leadership is important if we want to improve patient care, but I’m not convinced that herding all and sundry through leadership courses, and banging on about it ad infinitum will yield the benefits we are looking for.

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