Leadership Development Through Intentional Socialization

Blog Post Transformational Leadership

The call to lead within an organization can come from a deep desire within, or spring from a well of surrounding colleagues who see something unique in us that elicits their enrollment and propels us to the frontline. Regardless of what initiates us to leadership, one thing is certain–we’re going to need a lot of help along our leadership journey. This is something I was reminded of when I served as moderator of the Women’s Leadership panel at the CPhl North America and InformEx pharma conference in Philadelphia on May 18, 2017.

The Power of Intentional Socialization

The room was filled with about 95 women (and a few supportive men)—from across the globe—united by a common understanding that to grow a career as a leader we need to socialize ourselves to one another as leaders. Doing so means looking for avenues to intentionally connect with groups that support our objective to develop our career and leadership potential. Seeking out and attending such a forum is a great example of how the participants sought to socialize themselves into a mutually supportive group, a point heavily echoed by panelist Dorene Lynch of Pfizer CentreOne.

Ongoing and Aggressive Learning and Development

One of the points panelist Amy Ethier of BASF imparted was the importance of continually seeking, learning, and developing opportunities for oneself, as well as for fellow colleagues. Scouting for and continually learning from other leaders is critical to developing higher levels of competency that allow us to contribute as leaders with meaningful impact.

Managing our Professional Brand

“A sizable part of developing ourselves as leaders includes the manner in which we manage our own brand,” a key point made by Sarah Hauer of Catalent Pharma Solutions. Women aren’t always comfortable promoting themselves as an aspiring leader and can be hesitant to accept stretch assignments to get them there. Further, my colleague at Insigniam, Julie Weber added how important it is to take risks, in our efforts to build ourselves as leaders, jumping into unclear situations in which we often quite literally witness ourselves rise to the occasion.

Of course, many other pearls of wisdom were shared by the panelists as the hour of conversation continued. An overarching theme distilled among the panel is that work and our development as leaders within it can be thought of as a process of intentional socialization. Humans are social animals who depend on one another for meaningful connection and support, ways to learn, grow our own competencies and that of others, and how to navigate ourselves as leaders in this journey. At the close of the forum, there was a palpable feeling of magical connection in the room—with each participant eager to support each other in their quest to soar as leaders—while being simply inspired by the way the life sciences industry is advancing human life one cell at a time in an ever-increasing velocity.