Interview – CHARISMA MASTERCLASS FOR MEDICAL AFFAIRS EXECUTIVES – RICHARD REID
Leading up to NextLevel Life Science’s 2nd Annual MedAffairs Leaders Forum USA 2018, we are conducting interviews with selected members of our prestigious speaker panel to learn more about their thoughts on this vital issue.
*Opinions below are those only of the individual and do not reflect upon corporate strategy or positioning.
For more information regarding NextLevel Life Science’s 2nd Annual MedAffairs Leaders Forum USA 2018 click here!
Richard Reid, CEO, Executive Coach & Psychologist, Pinnacle Wellbeing 247
NextLevel: What kind of work do you do at Pinnacle Wellbeing Services?
RR: I am the CEO of Pinnacle Wellbeing Services. I started it back in 2005. We originally started as a private therapy practice in Central London and we’ve expanded from there, so now that’s only a small part of what we do. A lot of what we do now is corporate-related work in terms of applying psychology in the workplace, helping people to perform better and to maximise their potential on a consistent basis.
NextLevel: What kind of customers do you work with?
RR: We work with all types of organizations from Police Forces through to Banks and Tech companies. In particular, we work with C-suite level executives. When you make a breakthrough with them and they can see the value of what you do, they are able to cascade that knowledge throughout the organization.
NextLevel: Have you worked with senior executives from the life sciences industry before and are the challenges they face similar?
RR: Yes, definitely. A lot of the challenges that they face are very similar to the organizations. What you tend to find in a lot of people who are from a very technical background is that often they struggle more with the softer skills. So, a lot of the work we often do will be around emotional intelligence, how to engage with individuals, and how to bring out the best in other people. When you look at any industry, quite often people are promoted based upon their technical and professional skills, not on their ability to connect, and inspire and influence people. So, that’s really where we come in.
NextLevel: Can you give a brief description of emotional intelligence (EI)?
RR: We work very much according to the Daniel Goleman model. He talks about the five pillars of emotional intelligence. The first pillar is self-awareness. You need to understand how things impact upon you and also how you behave and how you impact other people. When you start to develop that self-awareness, you can then start to determine if and where you need to make changes. The next stage is around self-management and self-regulation. When you become more aware of what happens, how do you develop the tools that enable you to better manage your own emotions and behaviour and perhaps influence that of others? From there it’s really about developing empathy. So, you start to understand other people’s positions more. Then using communication – how do you start to create collaborative situations that are win-win where you start to understand people better, but also support their needs alongside your own? Then you get better, stronger sustainable relationships. Finally, the fifth pillar is about motivation and passion. You start to recognize how things impact upon you, and then you can start to realize where you can get more value in your life, be more productive, and maintain and improve your resilience. Those are the sorts of areas that we look at.
NextLevel: Your workshop is on “Charisma” training for senior executives. What is charisma and how does that tie into leadership?
RR: A lot of people when they think about “charisma” they think about it as being something quite superficial, often people think about it as having to be the loudest person in the room. It’s not about that at all. It’s really about how you present the best version of yourself, how you maximize your own potential and impact, but also how you elevate other people, and different people are elevated in different ways. It’s about being flexible in your approach. Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, it’s bringing the appropriate energy to that situation to enable you to make the most impact with other people, but also to bring out the best in other people. When you make other people feel good about themselves in a genuine way, they are more likely to want to spend time with you, and they are more likely to also promote what’s important to you.
A portion of that is also branding – Who are you at your best and how consistently are you applying that? When you are able to apply your brand more consistently and you also bring out the best in other people, other people effectively become a marketing tool for you. They promote that brand for you, they speak about you in positive terms, it opens lots of doors for you.
To be a charismatic leader, it’s certainly not about “style over substance,” it’s about being good at your job, but also having the ability to connect with people and inspire them.
NextLevel: What is leadership? Are, “leaders born, not made”? Can leadership be trained? What are the misconceptions surrounding that?
RR: I think certainly some people are born instinctively to be better leaders than others, but that’s not to say that people can’t develop the skills. I think everybody within certain limits has the ability to, at the very least, improve their leadership skills. So, I don’t think it’s true to say that everybody can be brought up to the same level. Certainly, however, everybody can be taught ways to move along that continuum to become better at what they do.
NextLevel: What are some practical ways to improve your leadership skills?
RR: I think the first thing is about managing the way that you go about your everyday affairs. Many of us, particularly when we get very busy, and more so perhaps when we get into leadership roles, will become bogged down in the numerous things we have to do. What tends to happen is that it automatically starts to restrict our ability to become aware of the bigger picture, to notice how things impact upon us, but also to notice how other people are responding to it and what their needs might be.
Part of what is important to develop in leaders is the ability to be more conscious in any given moment. What that means is that we can be adaptable to the situation and be able to respond rather than react. It means we are going to be more efficient and more purposeful in everything that we do. That not only improves our gravitas, but also allows us to adapt what we do to support other people and bring out the best in other people. What you can find is that when we become very busy, we start to lose an element of empathy. It’s very easy when we are in that sort of situation to automatically think that everybody else deals with the situation in the same way that we do. That’s simply not true. So, being able to be more in the moment and to see things in real-time allows us to be more flexible and more supportive.
It’s about being aware of how you are engaging with the world at any given moment and making a deliberate choice. The more aware that we are, the more we can adapt, if necessary. So, the more purposeful I am, the more I can bring to that situation whatever it might need. Often what we tend to do is to bring whatever version of ourselves happens to turn up, and sometimes that works alright and sometimes it doesn’t.
NextLevel: In your “Charisma Masterclass” will senior executives practice these skills and how?
RR: Absolutely. So, there will be a little bit of theory explained, the rationale behind why we do what we do, and some of the things we will teach in the course, but it’s primarily about giving people some practical tools so that they can go away and rehearse. The idea is that it’s really important to integrate them. It’s not enough just to know of their existence because, as I have said, if you are very busy, inevitably you revert back to type. Whereas, if you make small, incremental, rehearsed changes that becomes a more natural part of who you are. That’s really why we are here. It’s not about making clunky changes. We only need to look at, for example, politics to see people who are being coached in charisma who are not integrating their skills – they are using them in a very clumsy way. That’s not what we are about at all. It’s really about enhancing who people really are, rather than trying to make them into something completely different.
NextLevel: What are you looking forward to most at our event in Boston?
RR: I am looking forward to engaging more with people in the pharmaceutical industry. We’ve done work with them before, but it would be great to reach out to a wider audience. For me, it’s really important that people understand what true charisma is. It’s not a gimmick, it’s not an artificial thing, it’s not something that excludes certain types of people. It’s really something that is open to everybody, if you open your mind. For me the biggest reward in anything I do is about getting more people to realize the value of charisma and to see that it’s a skill that’s accessible to anybody.