Many of you are likely familiar with the work of Brené Brown. She has become a renowned coach and thought leader on the topic of, well, leadership. Her books, such as Dare to Lead, have taught us that leadership is not merely about who delivers the best “rah rah…rally the troops” speech. Nor is it about who is the stoic “tough guy” who calls all the shots and rules with an iron fist.
Leadership is about service. It is about having the courage to listen to what your team has to say. It is about being vulnerable enough to know you do not have all the answers, but you are willing to find the solutions together!
Leadership is about caring for the people in your workplace.
To dare to lead, you must care to lead.
This brings me to one of the greatest ironies in dentistry. Many dentists struggle with the idea of assuming a leadership role. Even though they may own a practice, they prefer to isolate themselves from decision-making and focus as much of their time on clinical dentistry as they can.
I have had practice owners insist they could not change the culture of their practice because they were not leaders! They were just dentists! Their strength was delivering clinical care to patients!
What if I told you that it is because of your focus on clinical care that you are an ideal team leader! It does not matter if you are an associate or a practice owner…you are the leader when it comes to patient care.
You see, the key element of leadership is the ability to care enough to put the needs of others ahead of your own. This is something that is almost natural to dentists when caring for their patients.
Patients will not be convinced to invest in your diagnosed treatment unless they are convinced you care. That means, you already have the most important skill to be a practice leader in your arsenal. You already have the ability to show you care.
Now it is simply a matter of channeling that skill in the right direction for your team. You care to lead by ensuring you implement systems and technology that helps make their work as rewarding and satisfying as possible. Remove the challenges of completing tedious and repeatable tasks by implementing systems that ensure this work gets done efficiently and teams can truly focus on making a difference in the lives of your patients.
You care to lead by being as open and transparent as possible. Ensure lines of communication are always open so your team understands the reasons behind your decisions and may even participate in the decision-making process. In a world of uncertainty like today, transparency is vital to retain loyalty.
You care to lead by ensuring your team has the skills and training they need to ensure their own success. Great organizations, even if they are small in size, invest in their teams. Yes, it may result in some members feeling their new skills may be better used elsewhere. But your reputation as one who develops talent will ensure the cream of the talent pool will be lined up to replace those who move on.
Caring is already critical to your success with your patients. You already have that skill. Simply transfer the focus of that skill to your team.
Care to lead…and you will be caring to ensure your success.