Usually, it is commonly seen in Pharma Industry that many successful medical representatives hardly perform, when they got elevated as First Line Mangers. The transition from a successful Medical Representative (MR) to a first-line manager in the pharmaceutical or medical industry can be challenging for several reasons. While it’s essential to remember that individual experiences may vary, some common factors contribute to the difficulties faced by MRs when they step into management roles. I may be wrong for many reasons, but these are my personal views. Your point of view is highly appreciable. Here are some reasons why this transition can be challenging:
The skills that make a successful MR (such as product knowledge, communication, relationship-building with clients, and salesmanship) may not fully align with the skills needed for effective management (like team leadership, conflict resolution, strategic planning, and performance management). While some skills may overlap, others require significant development. This means that a lot of different skills are required for first-line managers when compared with medical representatives.
Lack of Training:
Medical representatives are often promoted to managerial positions based on their individual success as salespersons, without receiving adequate training or preparation for the new role. Without proper managerial training, they may struggle to lead and support their team effectively. Every company must understand that a person gets success in his/her role because of the training and time spent in that particular role. So the possibility is there that one person must have received knowledge by working hard in that role. So either things take time or training is required. But in this fast pacing world, everyone expects every other to perform quickly.
Moving from an individual contributor role to a management position requires a mindset shift. Successful MRs may find it challenging to transition from focusing solely on their own performance to supporting and guiding a team to achieve collective goals. This is the biggest challenge to take work from others rather it is always easy to work on your own. Moreover, chances are there to have a difference in opinion between the two.
MRs are accustomed to managing their time independently, focusing on their sales territory and clients. As managers, they must prioritize and allocate time for team-related tasks, coaching, and mentoring, which can be a significant adjustment. This is the biggest issue because when you provide time to low-performing territory, it is seen that chances are there that many performing areas go down. So, time management is the biggest issue.
First-line managers often have dual responsibilities – managing their team and maintaining their own individual sales targets. This balance can be difficult to strike, leading to stress and potential conflicts of interest.
Lack of Support:
New managers might not receive enough support from their superiors in the initial stages of their management journey. A lack of guidance and mentorship can hinder their growth as effective leaders. here comes the role of second-line manager. He must give more time to this newly elevated person to educate and train him. Talk to him regularly. Understand his problems and give him solutions.
Difficulty in Evaluating Performance:
As MRs, their performance may have been measured mainly by individual sales results. As managers, they need to evaluate and support their team member’s performance, which requires a different set of skills and a broader perspective. Moreover, being successful means that the person is self-motivated and thus expects the same from his team mates, which is not true in many cases. You have to motivate your team to perform on a regular basis.
Adapting to New Dynamics:
The shift from being a peer to becoming a manager of former colleagues can create challenges in establishing authority and maintaining relationships within the team. The issue comes in the very first few months because where the company expects you to perform, the team expects you to behave friendly with them. So creating the balance is the biggest issue.
Some MRs may struggle to delegate tasks effectively, leading to micromanagement or becoming overwhelmed with responsibilities. They think that when their seniors delegated something to them, they had performed well, so their juniors must also do the same. But expectations hurts badly, whereas delegation helps in performing.
Pressure to excel in the new managerial role might lead to unrealistic expectations and the fear of failure, which can impede the manager’s growth and performance. In a particular area, where you were working for the full month, now you have to grow that area by working for 5-6 days and also need to manage other areas too, that are pretty much new to you.
To address these challenges, companies should invest in comprehensive management training programs for aspiring first-line managers. Providing ongoing support, mentoring, and guidance can help them develop the necessary skills and mindset to succeed in their new roles. Additionally, organizations should consider evaluating candidates’ potential for management during the selection process to ensure a better fit for the role.