A healthy and beneficial corporate culture does not arise by chance. It is cultivated! So, how can we infuse it in our pharmacy and reap its benefits?
The corporate culture with positive results, both for the employees and for the prosperity of a company, is primarily directly connected with the directions leadership itself.
The behaviors and reactions of employees, largely reflect those of the business manager.
For example, if the pharmacy manager is constantly in a bad mood, complains about everything, usually blames others for the bad happenings, constantly waits for recognition from others for his work and generally does not enter into a process of seeing differently everyday life, despite the difficulties, the same is reflected in the team and the business.
One of the first things a manager needs to do is introspection and self-assessment. To learn to recognize his strengths and weaknesses and what needs to be improved.
To take responsibility for his behavior, the way he speaks or asks for something to be done.
To consider what is his own share of responsibility when something does not work or when, for example, he finds a dissatisfaction, when a dispute arises with an employee or a client.
A true leader must have the courage and maturity to ask for evaluation and feedback from his own team (with an anonymous questionnaire - so as not to be influenced by bias - leaving the freedom of expression to his colleagues) or even by clients and in fact not by those who will caress his ears!
The proverbs "show me your teacher…"and "the fish stinks from the head…" refer precisely to the way the company head behaves determines the character, the culture that the company acquires, as the employees tend to be slow or quickly adopt behaviors they see.
Lay the foundation for a functional and compact team
Learn to communicate in the right way. Disagree in the right way.
Not YOUR right way, but the one that ensures respect, acceptance and understanding of the diversity of all of us! Learn to be angry in the right way, for the right reason, at the right time and with the right intensity.
Learn to train in the right way: by setting an example, by asking questions, by leaving initiatives, by allowing failure, by sharing responsibilities after first explaining what you want to be done and then asking proof that you have been understood! What everyone says is yards away from what the other person understands and miles away from what they are finally doing!
Of course, with regard to the division of responsibilities, you may have made a plan of importance and to manage the responsibilities you have entrusted, so that there are safety valves.
As a manager, you also have to learn to change the "hats" you wear: sometimes that of the counselor, sometimes of the teacher, sometimes again of the strict coach, the supervisor, or even the friend.
There will be times when you need to act empathetically, but there are times when you need to avoid the pitfalls of empathy in order to achieve goals or find solutions to problems that arise.
A functional team is based on trust, communication and participation! Teach your team members to feel safe. To have the courage of opinion, but also respect.
To be heard and to listen without judging! To disagree productively! To be able to make mistakes and be clear to you that only then will they learn.
There should be no inequalities in privileges, obligations, rewards and reprimands. To participate in issues that concern them.
All this in theory is excellent, but in order to be put into practice, it requires a goal, a plan, an implementation, corrective moves, feedback and repetition.
Again and again! Teams do not "happen" instantly, they are built over time!
Motivate your team
Although the "carrot & whip" method is old and proven, it also has several gaps: it causes addiction, has short-term results and expiration date, leads to wrong conclusions and perhaps most importantly, completely eliminates motivation.
Especially, during difficult times, there are other ways to motivate our team. For example, an employee who shows interest in lab products may be able to better develop in this area.
Another employee who is more organized, to take over the warehouse stocks, thus making more profitable management of the stock that often stagnates in a pharmacy.
To achieve this, we need to realize that our employees have different inclinations and skills. It does not mean that when we hire someone for a job, he will always do the same.
It may happen and that's ok. Maybe not. Just a small change in his job or schedule can be the best incentive to increase his productivity.
The only way to know all this is to have an open and honest communication with our team.
This does not mean that we will not adhere to the rules that we establish as a business manager, in order for the business to be functional and profitable!
Seek after hours meetings and invest in training and improving your team
Let your team understand that it is to everyone’s benefit, the regular discussion of issues related to the course of the business (profitability, report, a SWOT analysis), as well as for purely functional issues between employees, partners and of course customers.
What about education? ONE WAY STREET! But not only scientific education - this is now a prerequisite for every pharmacy.
I am referring mainly to the education that has to do with the gaps we have in our communication, customer service and general crisis management, from the smallest every day crises, to the biggest ones that upset balances in a way which is very difficult for us to deal with.
Adopt behaviors that make the difference! Realize that both your own well-being and that of your team, the team’s good mood, the effort to maintain an organized, clean, responsible, warm and human work environment, are reflected in your smile, your interest, your humor, in small gestures such as the resounding "GOOD MORNING!", until we resolve a dispute, or support the colleague in front of a client.
They are also reflected in the time we will devote to the customer to explain the application of a preparation or the reason for lack of a drug, to the promotions that we will design in order to stimulate our sales!
Even the way we comment on a "difficult" customer or competitor colleague. Or the way we treat things when they do not go the way we want.
Everything reflects our culture and consequently our business.
And what we need to realize is that a business with a culture not only goal-oriented but mainly human-centered, a business with a vision, internal motivations and values, can only have as a consequence sustainability, profitability and success!
Eva Athanasopoulou, Pharmacist, Human Resources & Business Consultant