“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly”. —Jim Rohn
Jim Rohn effectively describes the multi-faceted traits of leadership. It’s truly a balancing act when motivating your team to believe in your vision while holding them accountable to reach your organizational goals.
Being a good leader takes a lot of work. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a little inspiration or just one new idea that can kick start a flurry of other good ideas.
A successful leader doesn’t mean we are perfect at our roles as dental practice owners, office managers, team lead supervisors, top banana dental leader extraordinaire(my favorite), etc. Remember the humble trait that Jim Rohn mentions.
Leadership requires strategy and to a finer degree a set of principles. Establishing your leadership style and being consistent with your approach will lead to more consistent results from your dental team.
So let’s take a look at 3 ideas that can help us become better dental office leaders.
1. Embrace Office Culture
Establish your culture and embrace it. Expect your team to do the same and you’ll get better results. Building team culture can be both business oriented and fun. Yes, the obvious fun example is a monthly team building lunch or a disco bowling night out with the staff.
These are important as they help humanize everyone outside the office in a relaxed setting. Camaraderie will grow from these activities but individual time with each employee is equally important.
A more intimate way is incorporating culture into your regularly scheduled one on one’s. Besides just reviewing performance these meetings should be used for career growth and mentorship. Help your team member set some professional and personal goals that excite them. Build your culture around successfully achieving goals and watch your office culture thrive. You’ll learn more about your employees and what makes them tick which in turn helps you lead them better.
2. Encourage Problem Solving
Leading your team by solving all their problems will leave you tired and frustrated. Instead of providing the solution to every problem try to encourage your staff to think critically.
For example, have you ever had a dental assistant or front office staff ask you how to do the same task multiple times? Instead of taking the easy route and giving them them the same answer, ask them “how do you think this task should be handled?”
You’ll be surprised by how often they already knew the answer!
Just don’t accept the response of “I don’t know” and challenge your staff to think. Don’t forget to give encouragement to come up with the solution and praise them when they do.
If you stick to this approach you’ll quickly reduce employee reliance on asking you unnecessary questions which will allow you to better manage your team communication overall. You may also learn something new.
3. Set The Bar High
Having a high standard for how your dental practice runs and treats patients should really go without saying. Yet when it comes to enabling mediocre team performance it’s easy for busy dentists and managers to fall into a habit of lowered expectations. We’ve acknowledged leading a dental office is challenging and to be successful you need a team of top performers.
Yes, developing your dental assistants, hygienists, front office dental staff and associates to achieve greater results is part of the role as practice leader. But it’s equally important to not settle for poor performance from those staff members that continually deliver excuses. Making the decision to part ways with an employee is never easy. However improving your dental office team and more importantly providing the best patient care possible is what should matter most.
So set the bar high and don’t settle for less. Good employees appreciate being apart of an A+ squad and will take pride in reaching for higher expectations. As long as you treat everyone fairly and set proper expectations your team will respect you for making a tough decision.
Who knows… maybe they’ll even start calling you the “top banana dental leader extraordinaire”. 🙂
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