MSL Teamwork: Good Team Playing starts with Peer Recognition

During one of my MSL jobs, I had as part of my MSL role a significant amount of managed care clinical presentations that I had to give. Shortly after I joined the company I was scheduled to give a presentation. Since I was new, I felt quite nervous.

One of my MSL colleagues offered to walk me through the presentation. For 2 hours, this colleague listened to my presentation, gave me constructive feedback, and offered me advice about managed care presentations. He was also 3 hours ahead (I was on the West Coast, him on the East) and by the time we were done, it was quite late on his end.

I was grateful for his time and advice, and sent a note to the MSL director on how much I appreciated my colleague helping me as a new MSL.

We talk about being a team player in the MSL profession, and an effective way to contribute toward team congruence is by giving positive peer feedback. The benefits of peer recognition for you, the MSL giving positive feedback to your MSL colleagues, are numerous:

1. You learn constructive ways to encourage people. Those of you interested in getting into the management track can start this practice and make it a habit.

2. You earn positive karma points. You may never know when a colleague can use a positive boost, because the MSL job can be an isolating job, and often MSLs don’t immediately see the impact of their work. It’s especially gratifying to have a peer recognize you.

3. You become more aware of positive behaviors that you want to model and exhibit, and this can become part of your “leadership brand.” This is self-reinforcing. You want to be the MSL who keeps a team motivated.

For peer recognition to be effective, the recognition needs to be:

* Specific. Vague flattery isn’t really flattering and it isn’t very helpful for peers to know which behaviors to do more of. Sharing what the peer did specifically well and why this mattered or made a difference to you as a member of the MSL team comes across as more genuine than a verbal pat-on-the-back.

* Timely. Don’t postpone when you have something nice to say, especially when the best peer recognition notes should also be:

* Concise. Why must you be concise? Because you are going to cc (digital carbon copy) this to the MSL manager/director, and they read a ton of emails. The shorter the email, the better chance it stands at being forwarded as an example of teamwork working.

Do you have a good peer recognition story to share?

Until next time,
Jane Chin, Ph.D.
Jane Chin (