Why Should Biotech Companies Invest in Leadership Development?

Leadership Concept

Reasons for investing in leadership development in the biotech industry can be divided into need and opportunity. Companies need leadership professional development because the industry is growing, and employees are continually changing. People working in biotech start with several important leadership skills, which provides an opportunity to train them and create a pool of future leaders.  

NEED

Biotech needs leadership training because it continues to grow exponentially, and demand for leadership expands with it. The industry’s unique infrastructure also produces the need for leaders at every level of a project.

Biotech employees come from all over the world and bring their cultures and work environment traditions with them. These differences can lead to conflict without strong leadership.

Firms often have less traditional organization models, and a constant flow of new projects means regularly creating teams of independent thinkers from different cultures and finding someone to lead them.

Industry Expansion

Because positions are so specialized, industries overlap and what is and isn’t biotech isn’t always clearly defined, it’s hard to quantify growth. There’s no doubt, however, that the industry continues to grow.

Different financial experts put job growth in the biotech industry anywhere between 5 and 11% a year.  As companies expand and add employees, they naturally need more executives, department heads, project leaders and team leaders. Many CEOs in the industry are first-time CEOs. Without ongoing leadership training, companies may struggle to find capable candidates.

The industry's growth also means more competition for top talent. Investing in employees tells them you value them, so retention improves. A company with a reputation for such investments and a harmonious, well-led workforce also attracts the best talent.

Project-Based Work Structure

While other industries have traditional hierarchies and leadership positions, biotech companies are often less conventionally structured. Due to the industry's nature, company constructs may be more open and fluid to encourage innovation and invention. While they have departments and projects, they are always evolving. A department may grow and divide, and tasks are often broken up to work on individual challenges or problems. Virtually anyone can be called upon to lead a small team or subproject, so any team member may suddenly need leadership skills.

Cultural Challenges

Biotech companies bring in talent from all over the globe, so many cultural backgrounds make up a corporate culture. The differences can cause conflict and disrupt workflow.

 People from different countries may have their own ideas about how to work together successfully. They may also think of leadership differently and not feel comfortable with a manager’s leadership style. Leadership training would help these employees understand how to work comfortably and effectively in the company’s environment.

Cultural differences may also present a challenge to project leaders and department heads. New teams of creative, inventive, analytical personalities from different cultures can lead to communication and workflow difficulties without strong leadership. Learning about empathy, delegation and negotiation can help managers and department heads manage clashes between employees.

OPPORTUNITY

 As scientists, biotech workers already have many of the skills that leaders need. Taking advantage of those abilities and building on them with leadership training improves team harmony and project productivity. It enhances the work environment, aids in retention and attracts new talent.  It also builds a pool of future department heads and company executives. 

Building on Skills They Have

To be good at what they do, scientists need to have minds that are simultaneously creative and analytical. They are naturally independent and think differently. Throughout their education, they also learn to collaborate and work in teams. Leaders need self-reliance, analytical thinking, and collaboration experience, but they need other skills, too. Leadership training teaches an individual how to use the skills they have, to be effective leaders. Training also teaches them leadership skills they are missing.

Additional skills may include:

  • Empathetic Listening
  • Encouraging Enthusiasm
  • Effective Verbal and Written Communication
  • Effective Delegation
  • Recognition and Gratitude
  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Courage and Confidence

The growing biotech Industry needs to build a leadership pool. As companies expand and new projects start, more CEOs, managers and team leaders will be in demand. Diversity adds richness and depth to corporate culture, but it also can add challenges. Leadership training will add to skills that employees have and teach them additional skills they need to lead diverse creative, independent thinkers successfully. 

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