MSLs and Authentic Leadership

MSLs and Authentic Leadership

Pre-summit Interview with Dr. Valbona Thanasi Martini 

How would you define Authentic Leadership?
Authentic Leadership is about knowing your values, who you are and what is important to you. Only then will you be able to lead yourself and others in a way that is most impactful.   

What are the 3 personality traits you look for in a leader?
A personality trait is something inherent that you are born with and leaders are not necessarily born, they are made. Therefore I would rather call these qualities that a leader can learn and foster throughout their life. The most important of these qualities, in my opinion, would be self-awareness, integrity and an appreciation of what others have to offer. Beyond these being qualities of an authentic leader, they also help build trust which is key to one’s ability to lead effectively.  
 
How does Authentic leadership impact a team in the MSL profession?
Sometimes people confuse leadership with leading a team or having direct reports. However, leadership is first and foremost about leading yourself as well as leading others no matter where in the organization they sit. In the MSL role, this is key because you must work effectively across functions at different levels of the organization as well as with external stakeholders. Highly effective teams are made up of individuals who can lead themselves and others across and at every level of the organization. And this is true of MSL teams as well. In addition, the MSL role is about relationships as much as about the science. It is important for MSLs to be authentic leaders because it allows them to build effective relationships based on trust. Finally, one less appreciated quality of leadership is the ability to lead your professional development and career.  MSLs being field based are often isolated from the greater organization, which presents some challenges in professional growth opportunities and career development. Therefore for people in the MSL role, the ability to lead yourself in a way that creates those opportunities is key.

 

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