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Are You Making These Common Pharmacy Management Mistakes?

August 13, 2019

Inside: Even with the best of intentions, you could be mismanaging your pharmacy and making your employees less productive. 

During your years at pharmacy school, you were taught how to best take care of patients, but you might not have been taught how to manage your staff.

Your instincts might be leading you astray, and bad management can impact your pharmacy in the same way that poor sales do. When employees don’t like their manager, they are less productive, they’re more likely to leave, and the mood in the office turns sour.

Keep an eye out for these bad habits that could be killing your pharmacy’s morale and productivity.

1. Micromanaging

It’s good to know what’s going on in your pharmacy, but if you are micromanaging your team members, you are actually making them less productive.

Micromanagers have a hard time letting go of tasks, and they often involve themselves in work that has been assigned to others. You might be a micromanager if you:


All these behaviors make your team feel like you’re always looking over their shoulder, waiting to judge them for the smallest failings. The end result is unnecessary stress for everyone and an unmotivated team.

2. Macromanaging

On the other end of the spectrum, macromanaging can be just as harmful to your team as micromanaging.

Macromanaging is when you delegate too much. It sounds ideal—if you hire competent people, you can empower them to make decisions and everyone is happy. But that’s not what happens in real life. Workplaces that are macromanaged end up being disorganized. Everyone has a different idea of what their role is and how the pharmacy should work, which spells out a recipe for conflict. In the end, you’ll waste time trying to reconcile everyone’s perspectives and create a cohesive unit.

3. Giving vague feedback

When managers have to give criticism, they might worry about hurt feelings and hold back.

Far from sparing employees’ feelings, vague feedback actually causes them more stress. Your team members will know that they’ve probably done something wrong but will have no idea how to change their behavior to make it better.

Instead, give specific and actionable examples for how an employee can improve their performance. It might sting a little in the moment, but the end result is a more productive pharmacy.

4. Flying in like a “seagull”

A “seagull manager” is someone who swoops in, makes a lot of noise, dumps on everyone else’s ideas, then promptly flies away, leaving everyone else to clean up the mess.

These managers only seem to appear when there’s a big problem. But even then, since they’re not on the ground every day, they often end up making things worse.

Even if you feel like you could swoop in and fix an issue in your pharmacy, get a full picture of the situation before you start barking orders.

5. Staying static

When business is good, it might be tempting to sit back and relax. But rather than letting yourself settle into your position, you should keep pushing yourself to grow.

Managers that don’t make a conscious effort to expand their skills are modeling that behavior for their team members. If you’re not trying to learn new things, why should they?

By making personal development a priority for yourself, your team will be encouraged to grow as well.

6. Making friends with employees

In a small business like an independent pharmacy, it can be difficult to establish boundaries with your team members.

While you always want to be friendly with employees, maintaining close friendships with them will make everyone’s job more difficult.

Being friends with employees makes it difficult to give feedback when it’s really important. And it could potentially create resentment among your staff if team members believe that one person is getting special treatment.

7. Keeping employees at a distance

Even though you shouldn’t be best friends with your employees, you don’t want to treat them as cogs in a machine, either.

If you are oblivious to what’s going on in your team members’ lives, you could run into road blocks. Maybe your technician has been less efficiently lately because a family member is sick, or your clerk has been late because her car broke down. In these cases, getting to know your employees will help you help them.

Make an effort to have one-on-one time with each of your employees or try a few team-building exercises to learn what makes them tick and establish a rapport.

8. Failing to actively listen

Your team members see the pharmacy differently than you do. If they come to you with issues and concerns, don’t just brush them off.

Some managers might think their vantage point gives them a better understanding of the way things work, but they add tension to the workplace when they don’t take employees’ concerns seriously.

Active listening is key to fostering trust among your team. Listen without interrupting, repeat what you heard, and ask clarifying questions.

9. Not setting clear goals

If your pharmacy’s main goal is to get to the end of every day without any major snafus, you’re setting up yourself and your employees to become apathetic.

As a manager, you can establish milestones that give everyone more motivation. Good goals are explicitly stated and help all team members understand what their greater role in the pharmacy is.

Measurable goals give everyone something tangible to strive for and make your pharmacy more productive over the long term.

11. Recruiting ineffectively

Outdated hiring practices mean that you aren’t attracting the best candidates, and that’s harming your current employees.

When one team member leaves, managers might be motivated to get new blood in as quickly as possible, but the first person you find for the job is probably not the best person for the job.

Take your time recruiting talent to find new employees that will fit into your current work culture. Your current team members will appreciate it, and you’ll reduce costs by improving employee retention.

12. Not reacting to problems

Small problems pop up in the pharmacy every single day. Bad managers ignore these problems because they can be uncomfortable. Why confront an employee with a habit everyone else finds annoying when all it will do is cause drama?

But the longer it goes unaddressed, the bigger the problem will become until it becomes a major disruption in the workplace.

An efficient manager knows to nip issues in the bud, even if doing so creates a temporarily awkward situation.


An Independently Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is an independently owned pharmacy services organization based in Kansas City, Mo., that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, distribution services, and more.

PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own VAWD-certified warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.

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