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Physician Leadership In Industry

Physicians in industry must be strong leaders and team players.

Do you consider yourself a leader or a team player or both? To succeed in industry, physicians will need to be strong leaders—but also team players.

Physicians looking for non-clinical careers may find a good fit in the medical device or pharmaceutical industries.  Some will readily adapt to the technical aspects of their new role. Others may be thought leaders in their field—but could fail if they cannot work effectively in teams. Still others may not fit, if they can’t or won’t follow leaders with less clinical knowledge or experience.

The culture of a company will vary depending on what is valued. For instance, some companies are science-based. Applying the scientific method in all parts of the organization is expected and highly valued. Other companies are very competitive. They compete intensely against time, past performance and industry rivals to rapidly achieve quality results. While companies may differ in their core values, most get things done by working in teams. Teams move scientific breakthroughs from the lab through the clinic to the marketplace—and support other aspects of the business. 

Most companies believe diverse teams working together generate the best decisions for their patients, staff, and shareholders. Their team structure provides opportunities for staff to impact the direction of the organization, gain broader perspective about other functions within the company, and reach their full potential. 

So, what does this mean to a physician who is considering a career move to the medical device or pharmaceutical industries?  t means the physician must be able to demonstrate strong leadership skills—but also work effectively in teams. It means that they will not always be the leader, even if they are experts in the area. It means they will need to flexible, adaptive to change. 

Leading companies in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries continuously evaluate staff on their performance.  But this is not just about getting things done or getting results. Staff members are also evaluated on (1) how they achieve results in line with company values and (2) how effectively they demonstrate the company’s leadership attributes. 

As you consider career opportunities in industry, imagine how you might be evaluated against the expectations of your new role. How would others describe your performance?   What would you include in your self-assessment about team work?  Here are some statements of effective performance:

Team Leader

  • Displays strong leadership in a team environment
  • Builds a strong sense of teamwork and purpose
  • Conveys a powerful influence in a team environment
  • Promotes cooperative behavior and team efforts
  • Excels in building teams for success

 Team Player

  • Excels in developing team momentum, enthusiasm, and pride
  • Resolves team conflicts with finesse
  • Participates effectively in team efforts  
  • Excels as a team player

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