Through: dr. Edwin “Mac” McDonald
Developing leadership competencies is about developing yourself. If you look outward with a desire to influence and inspire, consider what you would gain if you look inward instead. Becoming a great leader is about your own capacity for change, no matter how difficult change can be.
In the dental practice, we have to stand up for our patients and our team members, but we cannot do it well if we are not clear about our vision, mission and values.
As a leader, you must deploy yourself in a range of constantly changing circumstances. But which “you” appears? Is it the most powerful and courageous version of yourself?
When you took on the responsibility of becoming a healthcare professional, you made the decision to become a leader at the same time. It is your responsibility to present yourself as well as possible.
4 Leadership Strategies That Will Transform Your Dental Career
Here are four promises you can make to improve your leadership skills as you pursue a stronger culture of practice.
1. Choose a meaningful direction
Every organization must choose its general direction. Without a destination, the practice lacks structure and clarity.
Your purpose isn’t clear just because it’s obvious to you, so fine-tuning your vision, mission, and values helps ensure your and your team’s actions align with your shared principles. Your vision, mission and values are directly linked to the inspiration, meaning and behavior you promote in your practice.
Vision leads to inspiration because your vision takes you where you want to go. Without it, you could go down the wrong path or follow flashy trends that won’t get you where you’re going. The practice’s mission leads to meaning because it makes clear what you need to overcome and why.
Finally, your values guide the standards of behavior that are necessary to achieve the intended result. Goal orientation is a missing ingredient in many leadership styles.
When your vision, mission and values unite, it is clear that you see the way forward.
2: Keep stakeholders engaged and accountable
How well do you really know your team? Do you understand their unique talents, passions and goals? They cannot serve your vision if you cannot serve theirs. Make it your business to see where they come from. Be their cheerleader. Be their support. Create a culture where talented dental professionals are part of the company’s mission and vision.
As a leader, we imagine we are at the top of the pyramid, but the best leaders stand firm at the bottom, supporting and elevating the rest.
Learn how to bring out each person’s potential while trying to discover the skills or experiences they want to cultivate. Transform your organizational culture from people who simply meet the demands to a thriving team unit that is genuinely committed, collaborating and contributing.
3: Create clarity and stay focused
Implement the right strategies that will keep you on the path to your goals. Make sure the processes you want to use are efficient and effective for your overarching vision.
In the same vein, avoid distractions that don’t really serve your mission. Your team’s hopes and confidence in achieving your practice’s goals can be undermined when your promises as a leader are broken. Don’t waste their time and don’t waste resources.
A good example of this is implementing a new strategy that you are not completely sure about or that goes against your stated values. That’s a surefire way to cause confusion in your team.
4: Prioritize relationships
How do you cultivate trust? The answer is another question: are you reliable? When you make your own reliability a priority, you create a culture of trust. Try to change yourself, instead of trying to change others, and you’ll find that you really are a leader that others want to follow.
When you make and keep these four promises, you foster a stronger dental practice culture that lasts over the long term.
Next one: Managing a dental team as a new dentist?
photo by Anna Tarazevich