Aspiring Leaders Should Embrace Uncertainty

Liz Devine Hewson and Mark Lund of Twin Lights Coaching and Consulting

Liz Devine Hewson and Mark Lund of Twin Lights Coaching and Consulting

While many clinical trial professionals struggle with the lack of clear career paths in the industry, there are tools, tactics, and best practices to help spot and leverage new opportunities. In this occasional series, we’ll hear from leading experts both in and outside the clinical trial industry as they offer insights on how to thrive in an ever-changing workforce.

It sounds like a Zen koan, but it is the aspiring leaders who show their vulnerable side who emerge as the strongest team catalysts, say Mark Lund, MD, FCCP, CPC, and Liz Devine Hewson, CPC, Certified Professional Coaches and Business Consultants with Twin Lights Coaching and Consulting in Princeton, N.J.

“Whether that’s owning your own mistakes or asking for help” from a superior, connecting with the boss enhances your own stature, Lund said. “People like to feel significant and particularly those in management and leadership. When you can give someone a bit of significance by asking them for help [or] for guidance, and they know you’re coming with integrity, that allows the person you’re asking to feel connected with you and to want to serve.”

However, if it’s a naked ploy to get a promotion, it’s liable to backfire. “When a younger person wants to get into a leadership role, it’s so important for their future [to] really learn how to listen,” Hewson said. Noting it’s a skill many people struggle with, she added, “Active listening helps bring about authenticity. It creates understanding.”

Further, don’t get hung up on the term “power” when looking for leadership opportunities, Lund said. “A lot of us, myself included when I was younger in my career, always thought about being powerful, when really it’s being influential [that matters],” he explained.

Communication is a key factor. “When you start to communicate authentically, even if you’re in a lower echelon or early in your career, you have the ability to create trust—and with trust comes commitment,” Lund said. “That commitment will be seen by the senior leaders in your organization, or [by] your team, and will allow them to want to move you up.”

While the necessity for integrity is a given, there are nuances to consider when understanding the leadership differences between various groups, Hewson said. “Baby boomers lead from the top down, while millennials are more collaborative,” she noted. “Gen X’ers tend to be more independent in their leadership style.”

Author: Michael Causey