Tim, our representative speaking ‘from the field’, gives his light-hearted angle on an issue that provokes strong feelings in all medical sales professionals: management.
THERE ARE TWO types of people in the world: those who really like their manager and those who don’t. Neither one will ever understand the other. Not liking your manager doesn’t mean you don’t respect them, work well for them or even admire them. They can get the best out of you precisely because you would not be friends if you did not work together. It’s just that, all things considered, you don’t, well, like them.
If you do like your manager, you probably think you are very fortunate. You get long lunches on field visits, late-night drinks at conferences and your birthday remembered every year. Your manager isn’t just your boss, but your friend as well. But think for a second about what you get out of the relationship and what it is you really need. I’m sure some of you find the odd few minutes when you can get away from work and have friends outside of the pharma industry. Do they try to motivate, coach and improve you in terms of your work? Of course they don’t. If they did, you would ditch them faster than the average time a doctor spends talking to you at a stand meeting. It is important to like your manager, I don’t doubt that, but always remember what they are for.
Your manager also has a manager. The next time you are put under pressure by your RBM, take a moment to stop and think about the pressure they are under – and then consider the pressure your manager’s manager experiences. This increase in pressure grows exponentially as you move further up the chain of command until you get right to the top. Here, the pressure is so immense it has been known to cause chief executives to implode. Sudden retirement can lead to severe cases of the bends. It makes our job seem easy. So what makes the ideal relationship between a manager and a rep? I don’t know. Sorry if you have struggled to the end of this article in the hope that there would be some great insight that would improve your working life beyond all recognition – but I’m not sure there is an answer to this question.
I have had many different managers in my life and my relationship with each has had good and bad points, but they were all different. I suggest we all make do with the manager we’ve got. Whatever kind of relationship you have with them, you can be sure of one thing: they really want you to do well. After all, their reputation is made or lost by your results.
If you can’t be with the manager you love, love the one you’re with.