For many of us, it can be difficult to toe the line between healthy self-assurance and over-confidence. It is important for us to be secure in our clinical knowledge and firm in our dentist leadership skills. However, too much confidence can cause us to grow complacent, to stop growing, and to dismiss input from others. Where do you fall on the confidence spectrum? Take a look at the following scenarios and be honest with yourself. Do you need to learn greater self-acceptance, or could you benefit from a little dose of humility?
Confidence with Your Team
As any military or political authority knows, goods leaders must trust their instincts. They must also possess the confidence to implement their policies and instruct their followers. The same is true of your dental practice. A good leader establishes practice policies, sets guidelines for his or her team, and holds employees accountable for meeting these expectations. At the same time, however, every world leader has a team of assistants and advisors. Only a dictator would take action without consulting others. In your dental practice, this same strategy applies. Your team will be happier and more productive when you ask for their input regarding office policies, scheduling, community involvement, etc. As a dental coach, I encourage my clients to hold regular Growth Conferences. At these meetings, you should not simply tell your employees how they can improve; you should invite their input and suggestions regarding the practice as a whole.
Confidence with Your Patients
Avoiding over-confidence with your patients can be tricky. There is no doubt that you know more about dentistry than they do. However, you must remember that no one knows your patients’ needs and goals better than your patients themselves. As a confident, yet compassionate, dentist, it is essential to cultivate good listening skills. Learn to ask the right questions and identify what your patient really needs. Yes, implants may be more durable and lifelike than a standard dental bridge. However, if your patient is extremely apprehensive about oral surgery, a bridge may legitimately be the best choice. When you can identify and meet your patients’ goals, without imposing extra treatment or pushing something that is in your best interests, you will enjoy greater patient retention. In turn, these patients may even bring in new business.
Confidence with Yourself
For many of my clients, establishing a healthy level of self-acceptance can be a challenge. Many dentists who perhaps seem overly assertive with others are actually quite apprehensive on the inside. As dentists, we are people pleasers. Legitimately concerned about the well-being of others, there is often a part of ourselves that is afraid of disappointing those under our charge. To a certain extent, this is valid. You don’t want to overlook a cavity so that your patient requires an extensive endo procedure. You also don’t want to run your practice without regard for your employees’ personal and family needs. However, do not let your own needs and goals go overlooked. You have the right to define your goals, to establish a life plan, and to create a path to achieving those dreams. In fact, when you do so, you are likely to enjoy stronger, more well-balanced relationships with your patients and team.