June 19, 2024

The 3 Leadership Skills You Need

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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In this episode, we dive into 3 crucial leadership skills that can transform your career in the Pharma and Biotech industry. These interconnected skills are essential to be successful and advance your career (while cutting out the stress and frustration!)

By mastering these skills, you’ll enhance every aspect of your career, from improving daily interactions and navigating the job market to securing promotions and achieving your professional goals. 

What you’ll learn:

  • The 3 critical leadership skills you need to make work easier and advance your career
  • How these 3 skills are interconnected and where most people struggle in mastering these skills once and for all
  • Simple tips for how you can start building these skills today


  • Get a new job, get promoted, or improve your current role inside Beyond the Ceiling – a group coaching program for women in Pharma/Biotech. Learn more
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Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. I just got back from a long weekend in New York City and it was so fun. We saw Mother Play on Broadway – which if you get a chance, I highly recommend it. It has some well-known actors and it is more serious – it’s about the relationships between a mother and her children, and the sibling relationship between the 2 kids. It’s tough at times and we all left balling. So it was really good lol.

We also got to see Catilin Clark play in the WNBA when we went to a NY Liberty game. It was my first WNBA game and it was exciting. We spent an entire day in Brooklyn and that was an adventure.  But I’m sure you can relate when you go on a trip, you can feel like you need a vacation so coming back I wasn’t necessarily rested but I was filled with great memories, bagels, and pizza.

I hope you have some adventures planned and now let’s get into a different kind of adventure and that is navigating work.

Today I want to share with you 3 important leadership skills you need that I have found to be really the most important when it comes to work.

If you were to do a google search on work skills you would probably get 100 you can choose from but these 3 are the ones that you need at every level and become increasingly more critical as you rise in the organization. If you don’t build and grow in these 3 skills, you will likely find yourself stifled and stagnant in your career. You may get to a certain level and find promotions to be a lot harder.

You might find work to be less enjoyable.

You will overall have more problems.

Alright enough lead up right? Let’s get into what these 3 skills are.

They are the skills of effective communication, influencing others, and advocating for yourself.

The way I look at it, all 3 of these skills are related to each other. For example, to influence you have to also be able to communicate well and strategically, to advocate for yourself, you have to influence and communicate well. So these 3 skills are very present in my group and 1-1 coaching spaces.  When you can do all three of these well it impacts every part of your career from the way you work to how easily you get resources or headcount, to how well you navigate the job market, how much your leadership advocates for you, how easily you get promoted and the little things that make a big difference in your day like that guy who is always a problem in your meetings, suddenly isn’t anymore.

I’ve talked about each of these skills in different ways in prior episodes if you want to dig deeper into any of these topics.

For today, let’s talk about what each skill is and tips for improving it.


How I define being an effective communicator is that you can clearly articulate your thoughts and deliver them in a way that your audience understands.

Where I see most people get stuck is they can deliver their thoughts but other people aren’t understanding them. This is often because they aren’t leading with the right information or providing the context in a digestible way.

WIth my clients I have them take an assessment that shows them their strengths and blind spots when it comes to communication skills. We then use that tool to understand their stakeholders needs and deliver the message in a way that will be well received.

It really takes the guesswork out of being an effective communicator. You have a roadmap that tells you what to do in conflict, how to build relationships, how to best deliver your message.

It’s pretty neat.

Something you can try to build your communication skills is first to reflect on where you think your strengths are and where you run into trouble. Are there certain people, meetings, situations that you find yourself not communicating well?  Have you gotten feedback about your communication before – what was it?

Another thing you can do is to be more strategic in your communication. Before going into any conversation take just a minute to write down what outcome you want from the conversation. Then consider what the other person or people’s perspective would be, the questions they may have, and your high level talking points. This alone can save you unnecessary time and conflict and get your message across more clearly.

Influencing Others

The next skill is influencing others. I define this as the ability to help other people see the value in your thoughts and ideas.

You can communicate your message well but if your audience doesn’t trust you, think you know what you’re talking about, or like you very much, they may not listen.

How you can influence more effectively comes down to trust, credibility, and relationships. 

Influencing is also how you manage up – help your boss help you, get a bigger budget, better resources, get promoted, get your ideas heard.

It is almost a form of advanced communication skills if you want to look at it that way.

So let’s say you have the foundation of being a skilled communicator, to influence you want to look at who you want to influence and then ask yourself do you have trust with them – and it doesn’t have to be deep down trust just do they trust you to follow through, are you considered reliable, do they find you credible? How would you know? Are you a person they come to for expertise or get their questions answered? You could think about how you can demonstrate your expertise more or more strategically if you’re not sure about this one.

Then look at how you can build your relationships with key stakeholders.

If you’re not managing your stakeholders, they are likely managing you.

I suggest being proactive and strategic by making or building relationships with people who are key decision makers on projects, for promotions, think of them like allies.

The more people in a room that know you, like you, think you’re credible for your expertise, the easier it will be to influence them.

Think about it – you’re more likely to listen to ideas from people you don’t agree with if you like them. You’re more likely to do something you don’t want to do or make time for someone if you like them or they are a solid colleague.

If it’s someone you’re not invested in, that has never helped you, that you don’t think does their job well, you’re not going to go out of your way for them or take their ideas seriously.

Influence is a bit of art and science but it has so many benefits from getting what you want, advancing your career, being heard but also negotiations in your role or salary.


Ok – self-advocacy, let’s talk about it.

Self-advocacy is tied to confidence. It’s your understanding of your inherent value and worthiness. It is a belief that your thoughts, feelings, and presence are valued and worth listening to. 

Like I said earlier, these skills are all related and connected to each other. If you communicate well and can influence but you don’t have the confidence to speak up, question if you are smart enough, feel inferior with other people in the room, then you aren’t going to be as happy in your career.

We all want to feel like we belong and have some element of seeking validation, but that belonging and validation has to start with ourselves.

We have to know we belong, believe it, see value in our thoughts and ideas, and validate our worth first.

We can’t wait for strangers or other people with their own issues to tell us we are smart enough to speak up.

We have to have this self-confidence first so we can advocate for ourselves.

If we don’t believe in ourselves, how can we expect others to?

So let’s say you have the communication skills, you have the ability to influence, and now it’s time to advocate for yourself by speaking up and sharing your ideas even when you aren’t sure how they will be received.

Many of my clients have no problem advocating and speaking up for other people but struggle to do it for themselves.

This is all tied to your self-confidence but the good news is that this is a skill you can build. You can become more self-confident and advocating for yourself can be easy.

I would say for my clients self-confidence is probably the first thing they have a big transformation in. They all report big changes in how they think about themselves, their value, their work and find themselves fearlessly speaking up, sharing ideas, scheduling meetings with senior leaders. So believe me, this is something you can build and it happens in just a couple weeks. It’s crazy how we can have issues with self-confidence, I was there too, for years and years, maybe most of your life, and then you can improve it and change it in just a few weeks.

The same goes with all of these skills.

They are simple and easy to learn and what makes learning them with me different is that it isn’t just the consumption of learning a new tool or strategy, you are implementing it in real time with me so you have accountability, a personalized plan to apply the tool or strategy to your unique situation, you know exactly what to do and say and you get feedback.  You are measuring your progress, you know what is working and what isn’t. So it’s very difficult to fail because you have so much support and the application.

A lot of skill development fails because it’s passive. You go to a class, read a book, listen to this podcast even, and then say that it was interesting and move on with your day.

When you invest in coaching, you’re getting the application to your specific situation and your specific brain so you know your implementing it correctly and have the support and accountability to troubleshoot.

Alright so the 3 critical leadership skills you need to be successful and advance in your career is communicating effectively, influencing others and advocating for yourself.

Thank you for tuning in today. I will talk to you next week.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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