Dr. Doug Yau Explains the Importance of Mastering the Concept of Emotional Intelligence while in the MSL Profession

Dr. Doug Yau Explains the Importance of Mastering the Concept of Emotional Intelligence while in the MSL Profession

  1. What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (or emotional quotient, EQ) is the ability to 1) recognize, understand and manage our own emotions and 2) recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.  The four main pillars of emotional intelligence are self awareness, self management, social awareness, and relationship management.

  1. Why is it important to master this concept when one is an MSL?

EQ is the backbone for critical MSL traits such as presentation skills, empathy, communication, stress tolerance, accountability, and most of all establishing trust.   As the MSL profession is a job of scientific communication and relationship management, it is imperative that an MSL master the skill of emotional intelligence to manage their emotions during a KOL engagement, effectively read a KOL and understand their needs, address their needs in a timely manner and build and foster these KOL relationships. 

Of note, unlike IQ, which remains that largely the same as one ages, EQ is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice.

  1. How does having emotional intelligence affect the career of an MSL?

EQ is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.     As an MSL, developing a high EQ allows for the increased ability to work in teams, adjusting to change and maintaining flexibility.  This allows for success despite the dynamic nature of the MSL job within a medical division of a company.  As a MSL with high EQ continues to develop and broaden his or her network within the company, their accomplishments take notice and help drive collaboration on projects, selection to leadership teams, and upward mobility.   As an MSL manager, developing a high level of emotional intelligence allows for better understanding of their team members and more effective coaching.  This increases employee job satisfaction and less turn over within the team.

Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.

Dr. Jihad Rizkallah Explains the Importance of Building Trust and a Productive  Relationship Between Manager and MSLs

Dr. Jihad Rizkallah Explains the Importance of Building Trust and a Productive Relationship Between Manager and MSLs

  1. Why is it important to build trust and a productive relationship between a manager and MSLs?

Trust is very important and essential between manager and MSls because without trust, communication, teamwork and performance will suffer and nothing gets accomplished.

  1. How does this type of relationship determine the fate of an MSL team?

Without trust, you are set up for failure. Trust boosts engagement, motivation and candor. MSLs are more likely to follow through on goals and be more forthcoming about the challenges they face at their level.

  1. How has the concept effected your career in the MSL profession?

 Throughout my career as an MSL and manager, I strived to be trustworthy, to lead by example, to walk the talk and be transparent. Showing people how much you care about them and their career and giving them opportunities to develop and grow, and truly acting upon it, has helped me grow and progress in roles of increased leadership over the years.

Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.

MSLs and Emotional Intelligence

MSLs and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is topic that is constantly discussed in the MSL profession. Brian Bischel, Senior Director, US Field Medical Affairs with Notal Vision, shared his views on Emotional Intelligence with the MSL Society. Take a look at his interview below!

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is a term that first gained popularity in 2012 when Daniel Goleman published his book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”. The phrase has many interpretations but is generally defined as the ability to be aware of how to handle interpersonal relationships with self-awareness and empathy. It measures how well an individual is able to regulate their own emotions and the consequent emotions of others.

 Why is it necessary for successful MSLs to have Emotional Intelligence?

It is not challenging to find very intelligent individuals for an MSL role. If someone has the discipline and intellect required to obtain a doctoral degree, they usually can master product information quickly, even if it is a new therapeutic area for them. The bigger challenge is finding MSLs who also have the proper levels of self-awareness so that they can read the personalities of those they are communicating with and adjust their levels of questioning or presenting appropriately.  

 What are some examples of questions you would ask an MSL candidate to assess their level of Emotional Intelligence?

A common question is “What is your proudest professional moment?” Someone with a heightened level of Emotional Intelligence will likely answer with a story about a team they were a part of that achieved a challenging goal by working together, as opposed to an example of individual accomplishment.

Another question to explore Emotional Intelligence levels is to ask the candidate to “Teach me something as if I’ve never heard of it before”. I like this question because often this is what MSLs are asked to do, and it gives me an impression of how they concisely explain potentially complex material. This question also gives me insight into their level of poise, as it is appropriate to pause and consider a response instead of just blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. And finally, I can see if they use check-in questions (“Does this make sense”?) in the course of their explanation, which I consider important for MSL presentations.

My last comment is not really a question, but a situation in which I like to interview. I prefer to do my interviews over lunch, brought into a conference room at my company. There are many reasons for this. First of all, many of our interactions with KOLs are over the meal setting, and I like to see how they handle the balance of talking and listening while also eating. Secondly, it sends the message that they can relax a little with me and that in turn really allows me to get to quality answers I need to hear in order to decide if they have the Emotional Intelligence I desire.

As an MSL Manager, what would inspire you to hire a certain MSL?

I certainly prefer therapeutic area fluency whenever possible. However, some of the most successful MSLs I’ve hired are young, hungry individuals without this experience, but have demonstrated that they put the work into preparing for the interview to improve their therapeutic area knowledge. These are people I know I can further mentor to consistently get better. 

In addition, I need someone who can work as a team. I realize this is a little cliché, but it is vitally important. I require my teams to work together on a multitude of projects, so no individual is overwhelmed. MSLs who seek only to elevate their personal brand, and not the group as a whole, do not have a place in my organization.

What skills should be improved often throughout the MSL career?

It really is a never-ending process of learning. I tell my teams that the physicians we call on may know more about the body than we do, but we must be seen as peers in terms of disease state knowledge, and have more knowledge than them when it comes to product knowledge. To that end, we have to stay current on publications and presentations.

Other skills depend upon what the MSL wants out of their career, which is something I ask all of my MSLs soon after they start in their role. Do they want to remain an MSL? Do they want to manage an MSL team? Do they want another role within Medical Affairs or some other department within the organization? Their answers tell me what I need to offer them to help them succeed, whether it’s leadership skills training or experience on internal teams such as Regulatory Affairs, Health Economics, Medical Information, Medical Communication, or others. I’m very proud of MSLs I’ve hired who have gone on to tremendous success in these different areas, perhaps due in some part to the experiences and training I provided.

 

Copyright 2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.