Pharmaceutical and Biotech Top-Performing Physician Leader Analysis

by Agota Alvarez


There is a long history of research addressing the relationship between personality and effective leadership in organizations (e.g., Judge, Bono, Ilies, & Gerhardt, 2002; Hambrick & Mason, 1984; House, Spangler, & Woyche, 1991). Compelling evidence has emerged from a number of recent studies that suggest personality is a strong indicator of the types of individuals who ascend to executive levels and that personality helps explain how these individuals lead their organizations once they are established in these positions (Resick, Whitman, Weingarden, & Hiller, 2009). In recent years, Caliper has conducted a number of studies that investigated the relationship between effective leadership and personality traits. One such study included a sample of 293 successful corporate leaders across multiple industries.

The findings suggested a very distinct model of executive level leadership personality. In general, this group of successful leaders exhibited dynamics that are consistent with being adept at influencing and directing others, skillful at building relationships and masterful at solving problems and making decisions. In essence, these leaders were extremely bright, assertive, driven to persuade, empathic and resilient. Having a need to get things accomplished, they are willing to take risks. They are also moderately sociable, demonstrating a healthy level of skepticism, and are motivated to come up with new ideas.

In another leadership-related study, Caliper (2005) conducted research on the unique personality traits of successful women leaders. Among the findings from this study of 59 successful women leaders were that women leaders score significantly higher than male leaders in ego-drive (persuasive motivation), assertiveness, willingness to risk, empathy, urgency, flexibility and sociability. The strong people skills possessed by women leaders enable them to read situations accurately and take in information from all sides. This willingness to see all sides of a situation enhances their persuasive ability. They can zero in on someone’s objections or concerns, weigh them appropriately, address them effectively and incorporate them into the grander scheme of things when appropriate. These women leaders are able to bring others around to their point of view or alter their own point of view—depending upon the circumstances and information they uncover. They can do this because they genuinely understand and care about where others are coming from. This allows them to come at a subject from their audience’s perspective, so that the people they are leading feel more understood, supported and valued.

In conjunction with Caliper, Amrop Battalia Winston has conducted a study to understand the leadership profile of top physicians in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. The purpose of this research is to identify if there are particular personality traits in these physicians that lead to behaviors that are consistent across the industry that demonstrate success. These personality traits can also potentially link into competencies already developed by individual organizations regarding their unique leadership definitions.


Use of the Caliper Assessment
The Caliper Profile is a robust assessment tool that measures 23 different personality traits and motivational factors that have been found to be highly predictive of job performance. In working with over 30,000 companies over the past 40 years, Caliper has consistently found that the employees who perform at high levels are those who are in work environments and positions that are congruent with their personality and motivational strengths.

One’s personality and set of motivational dynamics provides the psychological mechanism that gives rise to the observable behaviors that will lead to success in a job. In short, Caliper assesses the congruence between an individual’s personality and the tasks, work environment, management style, culture, and expected outcomes the individual will experience on the job. The more congruency observed, the more likely the individual will prove to be a success.

Analysis of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Top Leadership CompositeSixty-seven individuals, deemed by their respective companies or Amrop Battalia Winston as being successful or high-potential physician leaders, were identified as potential participants of this study. To help guide the identification and selection of potential study participants, we have defined high performance as a leader within the context of the following job-related behaviors listed by Caliper and Amrop Battalia Winston.

These include:

  1. Confidently expressin
  2. &