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What is Leadership Anyway?

When dentists come to me and we start to discuss leadership, they say things like:

"My manager is excellent, she works really hard to make sure the schedule is full"

"My management team is always making sure money gets collected"

"My team leaders are the first ones in and the last ones out, they work the hardest out of anyone."


These things are all great observations, but the very next thing I will ask is what leadership style have they adopted and why? This usually gives them pause, not because they are unsure of the answer but more times then not terminology gets in the way. Although they may know what and how things are occurring in their office, self-doubt creeps in because they haven't formally studied the difference between a Laissez-faire style and an Autocratic one. Or worse yet, they believe the word "leadership" means that as the dentist and owner they should be leading from the front on all aspects of the company and if they are not, they are somehow failing.


My Advice? Don't get wrapped up in the technical descriptions and definitions of leadership styles. Instead, focus on what you want the feel of the company to be. How will you establish positivity? How will you define what your company means to your patients? How do your patients know they are getting quality care? How does your team know you deliver quality care? So many of these questions go into determining your leadership structure and its appropriate style. But above all, I think the most important question we need to continuously ask ourselves is; does my leadership style and leadership practices compliment my business goals and objectives?


Let me give you an example;


Goal: "A team that can move beyond the basic daily duties and take the practice to the next target."


New Employee Training: 1 day on software? 1 day on scheduling? 1 day on customer service?


Realistically how many hours/days do you dedicate to training a new team member? Are the expectations of this new member the same as the rest of the team? How is their progress measured? If they feel like they are not getting support in the training what avenues do they have to rectify this? Is the training time planned? Is it structured? etc. etc. etc.


So many things to consider, and how can you do this all yourself?


Simple answer is you can't, get help. Leadership is not about handling everything by yourself. Appropriate delegation is a necessity for a successful practice. You job as a leader is two-fold; make sure what you are delegating is something your team is capable of handling (do they have the skills, knowledge, and resources to be successful). And second, to make sure everything is measurable and a consistent follow up system is in place so that progress can be tracked or adjustments can be made if needed.


Ultimately we really w

ant to make sure that we have a plan and that we do everything with intention, your results will happen faster and last longer!



Until next time!


Bianca Dornan

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