September 2, 2019

Leading the Way

Great leaders create a culture where others excel. By setting high performance standards they encourage their team members to learn and grow, striving for excellence in all they do. Dental Practices that have a healthy culture and are attracting and retaining the best and the brightest talent frequently have an extraordinary leader guiding their practice.

Leaders are basically normal people with average talent that use their innate wisdom in extraordinary ways to inspire and bring out the best in others.

What is leadership?

The ultimate goal of leadership is personal and shared fulfillment. Leadership is the process by which one person influences others to follow. Leadership transforms groups from what they are to what they could be. Leadership isn’t just what you do; it’s what you are, which then drives what you do.

The three key components of successful leadership are vision, communication and trust. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Vision: Having a clear vision of the future acts as a guide in the decision making process. Effective leaders are able to ‘see’ the potential benefits and pitfalls decisions will have on both the present and the future viability of their Practice.
  • Communication: By communicating your Practice vision to your team members, they will be better able to support you in your decision making process. And, if they participate in the decision making process, they will be more likely to have psychological ownership for the outcome, which ultimately will improve your results.
  • Trust: The most effective way to build trust is by being trustworthy. By conveying a sense of trust to your team you empower them to trust and support you.

Can leadership be learned?

The skills required to successfully lead and empower others are learned, very seldom, if ever, are powerful leaders simply born that way.

One of the easiest ways to determine what leadership characteristics are important to you is to consider the people who have made a positive impact on your life. This could include your parents, teachers, bosses, public figures you have read about and admired, as well as any other role models you have had. What specifically is it about these people that you admire? Also consider people who have left a less than favorable impression on you. What personality traits did they exhibit that you have chosen to not adopt?

Develop a list of attributes that you want to incorporate into your personal leadership style and then commit to do whatever it takes to make them happen on a consistent basis. Commitment will open the door to self-mastery and excellence.

The most effective leaders invest countless hours in self-development. Do whatever you can to fine-tune your leadership skills by reading, attending courses and being very aware of all that goes on around you.

Leading Your Team

Some leaders think it's their duty to point out all the mistakes their team members make and suggest solutions. They adopt a problem-solving mindset that consumes a lot of energy.

These people are so busy focusing on crises management that they frequently forget to notice all the great things happening in their practices and acknowledge their team members when they do a good job. They see their team ‘as they are’ instead of envisioning them ‘as they could be.’

This approach to leadership doesn’t do anybody any favors; it rather stifles creativity and impedes growth. Take the time, with the help of your team members, to develop effective and efficient systems that will eliminate the guesswork in your office, enabling you to provide automatic and seamless delivery to your patients. When we give complex tasks structure, we simplify them, making it easier to consistently achieve great results.

Paint a picture of where you want your Practice to go, articulate clearly the reality of where you are now, and then engage your team to help you determine how to close that gap.

Questions to consider

Being a great leader will help you build a highly capable practice. On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your leadership capabilities in the following areas?

1. Do you encourage and empower your team members to be the best they can be?

2. Have you developed a culture of trust in your practice?

3. Do you hold yourself and your team members accountable?

4. Do you deal with conflict by being upfront and honest?

5. Do you deal with sensitive issues that affect your practice without betraying confidences?

6. Do personal problems affect your performance at work?

7. Do you have effective systems in place that support your practice?

As you define and build your leadership capabilities your practice will grow and prosper, and you will lead the way. Good luck on your journey!


About the Author

CoraMarie Clark, MBA, is recognized as a highly effective Dental Practice Strategist. She works with dentists that want to optimize their potential both personally and professionally. Her collaborative approach has helped teams develop dynamic competitive strategies and achieve high impact sustainable results.

If you would like to explore the possibility of having CoraMarie work with your Dental Practice or speak for your Association or Group, contact us today.


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