Don’t Let Your Job Title Keep You from Being a Clinical Research Leader

Have you reached a point in your clinical research career where you are itching for a change, but feel constrained by factors like not wanting to relocate, or seeing the next position you crave is already filled by someone who isn’t going to let it go anytime soon, or admitting that moving up the corporate ladder would negatively affect your work/life balance?

Fear not. Speaking at the ACRP 2017 Meeting & Expo in Seattle, Anne Smallwood, MS, CCRA, said that although “leadership tends to be considered as top-down” in nature, to paraphrase Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead author Sheryl Sandberg, it is better thought of as the ability to influence those around you positively such that the effect lasts in your absence.

Smallwood adds that finding your opportunity to demonstrate leadership, no matter what your job title is, and figuring out how to tackle that opportunity can be early steps on the way to connecting with those around you in quiet, but meaningful, ways that are likely to be noticed by your managers and other organizational leaders.

Now teaching on strategic planning in clinical research and drug development topics at the Drexel University College of Medicine, Smallwood retired recently from a career in medical affairs that saw her work for an impressive string of major firms. Using anecdotes about personalities in the military, space program, and other corners of life, Smallwood explained how demonstrating leadership, even when one has no direct authority, sets the tone for a good work environment, motivates others, fosters collaboration, and provides direction to those wanting to do their best work.

Author: Gary Cramer