Set your practice (and your team) up for success.
Building a successful practice requires certain skills as a dentist, business owner, and leader. But some practice owners overlook the importance of leadership skills and how they work with their staff.
Taking a closer look at the measures you can take to become an effective leader in your practice, such as by improving communication or supporting your staff with orthodontic continuing education courses or other professional development, can have a major impact.
To build your leadership skills, start with these 5 key strategies.
1. Take Time for Reflection
Being a leader at your practice can be a challenging task that takes a considerable toll. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself and allow time for peaceful reflection to cope with the stresses of running a dental practice.
Meditation is widely used by professionals looking for calmness and clarity. However, your own personal reflection time doesn’t have to meet the strict definition of meditation. Just setting aside some designated time for reflection is a great start.
Take that time to evaluate how you’ve been approaching your role as a leader. Instead of letting any concerns that you have continue to weigh you down, work through them calmly and methodically in order to better understand your current position.
2. Foster Clear Communication
Communication is essential for success in any workplace. This is even more true for dental practices, where the complexities of treatment plans, paperwork, and other factors provide many opportunities for mistakes and miscommunication.
As a leader, you should foster an environment where your staff feels comfortable communicating with you and with each other. Open communication is vital. You don’t want your staff to leave concerns unvoiced or be afraid to ask questions due to a hostile work environment.
Keep in mind that how you and how your staff see things may be different. What you might consider a clarification could be seen as a negative comment by a staff member. It’s important to tailor your communication style to the individual. Maintaining an air of open communication at all times makes it easier to provide feedback in a productive way.
3. Clarify Your Vision
What exactly is your practice about? In general, dental practices are committed to providing quality care for their patients and generating revenue as a business. Developing a more granular perspective on your goals can help guide your leadership skills.
Having a more precise vision will let you make decisions more effectively. Choosing your main target market is one example. Are you operating as a family dental practice, or are you more focused on individual patients? This is just one example of how your goals can guide your practice.
Making a commitment to comprehensive care is another common vision among dental practices. Being able to provide a wide range of treatments under one roof can let you provide better care for your patients and generate more revenue from treatments you would have had to refer to specialists previously.
4. Look for the Positive
There’s no doubt that there are significant challenges to running a dental practice and that their resolutions won’t always be ideal. However, you can focus your leadership skills on finding the positive in any situation.
Being able to identify opportunities in apparent downturns is a vital business leadership skill. Instead of simply worrying about a lack of new patients or drops in revenue, you can instead focus on building your practice to provide more value.
Finding the best in your staff is another important part of looking for the positive. Dealing with other people can always bring challenges, but if you, as the leader, take the initiative to build bridges rather than burn them, you can create a strong work environment.
5. Equip Your Team With the Right Tools
As a leader, you are responsible for building your team. This doesn’t just mean choosing the right staff members; it also includes aiding them in their development and providing them with the support they need.
If your practice is continuing to grow with new treatment options, you need to ensure that your team has the skills and knowledge required to support those new treatments. Preparing your staff for new orthodontic treatment options with orthodontic CE courses for assistants and hygienists would be one example.
You depend on your staff to support treatments and carry out the everyday operation of your dental practice. They depend on you as a leader for guidance and development. Investing in your team with continuing education is one of the best decisions you can make as a leader to grow your practice.
Continuing Education Opportunities With the AOS
The American Orthodontic Society offers a wide range of orthodontic continuing education courses for both dentists and their teams. You can be an effective leader by providing your staff—and, in turn, your practice—with the solid foundation they need to succeed. View our courses to find the right opportunity for your team.
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.