Embrace leadership success with these tips for your practice.
Dentistry and leadership go hand-in-hand. While you might not have realized this from the start, it likely became evident as you built your team and planned your dental practice.
Being a leader requires strategic planning and expert relationship building. While that’s the case throughout the industry, it’s especially true in the field of orthodontics.
To kick off your new year, here are 10 statements about leadership that general and pediatric dentists who practice orthodontics should seek to embody.
1. Leadership is a journey, not a destination.
As every dentist knows, becoming a leader in this field is a journey of a lifetime. In fact, dentists who are passionate about their work usually invest in continued education beyond the basic requirements necessary to start their own practice.
This includes studying specialized areas of dentistry, where they can fine tune their passions and expand their calling. For example, you might find that you have a growing interest in the field of orthodontics. By taking an orthodontics course through the American Orthodontic Society (AOS), you can broaden your technical and clinical knowledge, sharpen your leadership skills, and attract more patients to your practice.
2. Leadership is an art that can be learned.
As with every skill, leadership is an art that you can hone and develop over time. As you learn more about how to become an effective dental leader, you’ll find strategies and techniques that can help you guide your team more successfully.
Even if taking the reins doesn’t come naturally to you, there are resources, programs, and platforms that can help you become more confident and capable in this area. By investing in these tools, you can gain the confidence necessary to expand your practice, grow your team, and become a standout in your field.
3. Leadership is not about the title or position you hold, but how you conduct yourself.
Some of the best and most prolific leaders in the world never held the title of manager or director. Still, they conducted themselves with integrity and virtue. As a result, they attracted like-minded people to follow their vision and join their cause.
You can do the same at your dental practice. Though you are the designated leader of your workforce, the title doesn’t mean anything unless your employees respect your character and see traits in you that they want to emulate. Only then can you encourage them toward the same greatness you’re also reaching to achieve.
4. Leaders are made, not born.
Don’t believe the myth that some people are born natural leaders. Accepting that reality can limit your potential and leave you feeling slighted, especially if you don’t feel sure of your leadership abilities just yet.
Instead, embrace the idea that you can make yourself into the kind of leader you want to be. Doing so means stepping out in courage, even if your footsteps are shaky. This is one of those leadership success skills that can take time to perfect, but the effort is worth it.
5. To lead well, one must first follow well.
Leaders do more than just direct their teams. They also know when to take a step back and follow someone else with more experience or authority in a given subject.
Instead of gripping too tightly to control, allow yourself to learn from others who have knowledge and guidance to offer. When you assume that you already have all of the answers, you cut yourself off from valuable insights that could help you strengthen your practice.
6. The best leaders know their strengths and weaknesses, and work to improve on both.
A thorough self-analysis can be an excellent exercise. As you brainstorm short-term and long-term goals for your dental practice, take the time to consider where you excel, and where you don’t. Then, look for ways to grow.
If you’re a general or pediatric dentist, you might be interested in learning more about the field of orthodontics in 2022. Through our online and in-person courses, you can learn from established orthodontic professionals who can help you sharpen those skills and reach your professional aims.
7. Everyone has the potential for leadership within themselves.
As you assess the strength of your dental team, look at each employee as a promising future leader. This applies to your front desk staff members, hygienists, associate dentists, and any other person on your payroll. It also applies to yourself.
When you see the potential for leadership within everyone, you can nurture those skills into development. With the right encouragement, your team members will feel confident enough to share new ideas, ask important questions, and develop innovative solutions to common pain points.
Assuming that only designated leaders can act this way, significantly shortchanges the talents of those around you. Even if you don’t see those traits yet, you can manifest them with motivation.
8. Leaders inspire others to be their best.
In keeping with the point above, leaders also inspire others around them to be their best. When your dental practice is succeeding and everything is going well, it’s tempting to be content with the status quo. Yet, the most successful teams are constantly growing and evolving.
Look for ways to help your employees reach their full potential. This could mean encouraging the team to take continuing education (CE) courses where they can learn best practices and expand their knowledge base. You can earn CE credit hours through many of our AOS courses, and members receive exclusive discounts on these programs.
9. Leaders are visionaries who see possibilities where others see problems.
A leader is someone who doesn’t step back when a setback occurs. Rather, they look for smart ways to turn problems into new possibilities.
Think about a current issue your team is facing. Are you losing out to a nearby competitor? Have you noticed that patients have started leaving your practice for one reason or another?
Instead of lamenting, take action. Look for ways you can improve and expand your services to attract new clients and retain the ones you already have. For instance, many dentists find that they’re more successful when they add a specialty to their practice, like orthodontics.
10. Leaders take calculated risks and are not afraid to fail.
If you’re always afraid of falling, you’ll never gather the courage to try. While it might sound idealistic, it’s time to reposition this fear. Every time you step out in faith, it’s true that you assume a liability.
Your effort might not turn out the way you’d hoped, and that’s OK. You learned and you grew, nonetheless. When you think about failure that way, it becomes less daunting and more doable.
Memorize these statements about leadership.
As a dentist, it’s easy to think of leadership as just another part of the job. Yet, it’s so much more than that. This is a trait that will affect every decision you make, every person you hire, and every patient you treat.
Keep these 10 statements about leadership close as we head further into the new year. Post them where you can see them often, and memorize the ones that speak to you the most. Will 2022 be the year that you expand your practice and take your skills to new heights? Check out our upcoming courses and join us!
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.