But what does effective leadership look like in a dental practice?
Many dentists confuse leadership with management. While a manager is there to implement action and direct staff, a leader’s role is to guide and influence behaviour. For a dental practice to run efficiently, all the staff need to work as a team. Without collaboration and effective communication between each team member, the structure of your practice will fall apart and it won’t be too long until this flows through to the patient experience.
This ‘ecosystem’ requires a strong leader to forge the way, set an example and be the driving force behind the practice. They need to set responsibilities and keep every practice team member accountable to ensure everyone is contributing to the success of your practice.
5 tips for great leadership in a dental practice
There are many factors that contribute to becoming a successful leader, here are our top 5 leadership tips we believe every dentist needs to have.
Create a vision and communicate it
It’s one thing having a vision for your practice, it’s another thing to effectively communicate this vision to your team. Without the communication component, you’ll be the only one focusing on the vision and the outcome.
As the leader of your dental practice it’s your responsibility to create a vision and align the practices within your team to ensure this vision comes to fruition.
A clear vision will give your team direction when making decisions and also set out boundaries when strategically planning for your practice. A vision can be used as a guide, for example, if your vision is to have the best after-care, your team will know that special focus needs to be placed on this part of the patient journey.
The ability to recognise individuality
One of the struggles many leaders face is finding the right technique to connect and motivate all members of the team. After all, every individual within your team is different. They will have different motivators, working styles and won’t respond to every situation in the same way.
To build a team of empowered and dedicated individuals a leader must recognise the strengths, weaknesses and different personalities of each individual.
This approach isn’t as complicated as you may first think. It could be as simple as giving staff who like time to think more time to mill over information. You can leverage the creativity of innovative thinkers when implementing new ideas within your practice, or utilise the skills of those with great attention to detail when you need to analyse or find issues or risks with upcoming projects.
Lead by example
‘Do as I say and as I do’ is the motto you should live by if you want to become an effective leader. You are a role model for your team and if you create a positive, inspiring environment, your team will catch on and follow in your footsteps. You should always reflect the values you expect from your team, because as a leader it’s you that your staff are looking up to for guidance and to keep them accountable. If you walk the talk within your dental practice you’ll evoke the team’s confidence and respect.
Leading by example is a good way to guide your team along the correct path, rather than enforcing rules to get them to behave in the way you want. It’s more motivating to display a certain behaviour if everyone else, including management, is displaying this behaviour too.
Leading by example will boost employee morale, create practice loyalty, help create a positive work culture, build respect and trust and increase productivity.
Be open to change
Adaptability as a leader is a necessary tool. As you grow, your dental practice it’s going to be necessary to change old procedures and embrace new ones. Strong leadership means you have the ability to look past your own ego and the way ‘things have always been done’ to take on new ideas to improve your business.
Embracing change is important if you want your practice to grow. An agile leader seizes opportunities and isn’t afraid to let go of the status quo. The prospect of opportunity isn’t diminished by holding on to old ways of doing things or needing to be the one bringing forth new ideas.
Whether it’s implementing a new payment plan solution, or a marketing campaign to increase patient retention, a leader needs to have the adaptability to look at the benefits and make decisions accordingly.
Being open to change allows a leader to see what isn’t working and implement new initiatives by calculating the risk versus the potential positive result.
Don’t be afraid to delegate
Delegation isn’t always easy for dentists. To maintain control of their practice many dentists default to operating in isolation, which makes it difficult to operate as a team. While it’s hard to let go, without effective delegation you may find you are not making the most of your time. For your business to grow it’s important to identify the best person to be carrying out the task.
Every member of your team should have clearly defined roles. This will help you determine who should do what and who is the most capable person for each task.
Effective delegation ensures the profitability of your practice and increases productivity. A leader that delegates inspires confidence and gives employees the opportunity to grow, learn and develop within your practice.
Effective leadership skills are a necessity if you want to build and grow your dental practice. The benefits of great leadership will flow through to help you create a team of empowered employees who are inspired to guarantee the long-term success of your practice.
If you’re ready for change and would like to implement an affordable payment plan solution to grow your practice, contact the DentiCare Provider Relations team today.