Legitimacy of leadership is an important part of why UCB is able to function in a cross-functional manner. Within the company (and particularly laterally), employees are usually entrusted to furnish their opinions on important topics and that opinion is taken into consideration. However, the leadership chain of command is well established and understood as well. On the policy team, people do not simply follow the boss’s suggestions because of his position. The higher-ups have established through a combination of prior experience and leading by example. For example, the head of the policy department has had a long career with both the public sector and the pharmaceutical sector. Bringing experience from both areas of the field contributes a number of positive elements. First, he is able to make appropriate estimations with regards to what will be included in certain pieces of legislation. His prior public sector work also assists in creating relationships with members of Congress and understanding what they need from the pharmaceutical industry. In the private sector, he has an in depth understanding of many, if not all, of the potential threats to the industry, as well as the appropriate response. Second, he is committed to making meaningful changes in the lives of his employees. If there are identifiable issues that need to be changed, he is willing and able to either make the change himself or identify an appropriate way to address the issue. In my personal experience, he has reached out to ensure I both feel comfortable in my position and understand the history of certain policy issues to complete the context.
In establishing legitimacy of leadership, the head of public policy has created a more positive and efficient work environment. In my experience, if there are any issues my immediate supervisor cannot handle, I feel comfortable addressing them with the head of public policy. In addition, other members of the policy team have spoken to how the head of public policy’s leadership has given them both the credibility and leverage to work more efficiently on a day to day basis. The legitimacy of leadership exuded by the head of public policy extends beyond the four walls of the policy team’s office.