Effective Leaders Don’t Settle for Being Managers

Karina Loyo, Director of Clinical Researcher Services, Prelude Dynamics

If you don’t know the difference between a manager and a leader, do yourself a favor and learn how to become the latter for the betterment of your career, your clinical trial colleagues, and your patients, says Karina Loyo, director of clinical researcher services at Prelude Dynamics.

“Managers dish out assignments, and get the minimal job done,” Loyo says. “Leaders get the best work out of everyone, including themselves.”

What’s the difference? Well, there’s no single magic ingredient separating the two, says Lisa Scott, a nationally certified speech pathologist and founder and CEO of Accentuate Communication. However, leaders, natural-born or learned, realize that “sounding” like a leader is a big part of the answer, she says.

“It’s about having a confident tone, a dynamic voice,” Scott says. “Speaking in a monotone” loses people’s attention, while “coming across too forcefully makes them think you are angry all the time.” Neither approach is effective for quality leadership.

Paradoxically perhaps, confidence also extends to not being a know-it-all, Scott says. Again, though, it’s how you acknowledge a skills gap that’s key. “The way you ask a question” is critical, she explains. “It’s great to say ‘Hey, that’s a great question, I’ll get back to you with the information,’ and still sound confident.”

Managers run down a checklist and give subordinates tasks. Leaders “take a whole person approach,” Loyo says. For example, a skilled leader will get to know his or her team members and forge a strong professional relationship.


Clinical Research Leadership Toolbox: The Tools You Need to Succeed

Join Loyo and Scott for engaging, interactive leadership workshop at the ACRP 2020 annual conference in Seattle, May 1-4. Take home tools to improve communication, people management, conflict resolution, and the hot topic of how to handle the inevitable impact of technology.

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“Know what makes them tick, what they aspire to, and how you can feed into their goals to get their buy-in and loyalty,” Loyo urges. “Lead by example with a vision and strive for a culture of excellence. Leaders can get collaboration that accomplishes amazing things” while managers get fixated on a single task and hitting a certain deadline to the exclusion of everything else, she warns.

Further, if cultivating a relationship with your team sounds time-consuming, it’s more than worth the effort in the end, Loyo says. The alternative? “Think about how much effort it takes [for a manager] to come to work day in and day out knowing people there don’t want to do the work,” Loyo notes.

Instead, a committed and empathic leader can inspire everyone to new heights. “In the long run, it’s so much better for everyone if you are a leader,” Loyo says.

During ACRP 2020 in Seattle, Loyo and Scott will lead an engaging, interactive workshop that leverages storytelling and other tools to expand on “the shared knowledge in the room,” Loyo says.

Author: Michael Causey