Bringing About Change as a Leader Starts with Respect

Senior leader

Jordan WarshafskySenior leaderBy Jordan Warshafsky, Partner, Ashton Tweed

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Looking to cause change as part of your leadership position? One has to gain respect from their employees before they will trust your innovative ideas or fresh management styles. Life science leaders are constantly looking for ways to disrupt the industry, so make sure your senior management will support you as you drive the change in the organization.


Here are 4 ways to earn respect as a leader as told by real-life executives in the life sciences industry:


1. Recognize hard work and a job well done.

“Focus on the drivers of high performance, such as treating each other respectfully and rewarding employees for commitment and performance. There are some simple, classic actions such as catching people doing things right, recognizing colleagues for going above and beyond the call of duty – for example, working extremely late or through the weekend on a time sensitive project. Make certain that you take the time to recognize the action, especially in front of his/her peers, for going above and beyond the call of duty.”

James Caruso, President & CEO, Cellectar Biosciences


2. Build a company culture and set of values that unites your team.

“We defined a new set of values around the idea that everything we did was really focused on the patients exclusively. We adopted a set of six values that were pretty much our compass and our center in everything we did: integrity, respect, personal accountability, excellence, teamwork and fun. The values became the anchor of the company and ultimately made us successful.”

Dr. Francois Nader, Chairman, Acceleron Pharma Inc.


3. Engage your employees through collaboration.

“This experience taught me so much – I could write a book! Most importantly, and the most significant learning – the art of collaboration, trust and respect amongst a management team is crucial for success.”

Kathleen DeLawrence, Chief Operating Officer, Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics, Inc.


4. Embrace what makes you different rather than fearing it.

“We’ve been asked by certain venture capital firms why we don’t do things the traditional way. My answer is that I could spend $20 million doing things the classical way and be where we are today. I have very consciously and deliberately thought of ways to be more efficient. We are often told that we can’t be credible because it should cost a lot more money than what we are proposing. And I say no, we’re just trying to be much more efficient and we have a different model.”

Ira Spector, Ph.D., CEO, SFA Therapeutics


It takes more than just good leadership to bring about change in our industry. As Partner of an executive search firm and having 25 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device sectors, I’m familiar with the types of leaders our innovative companies require in order to succeed. How have you learned to earn respect in a leadership role? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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