Leadership is a hot topic among today’s business experts and consultants. There is good reason for this. Business owners cannot expect to see true growth and success if they do not know how to lead others. But what truly constitutes leadership? Consultants and motivational speakers all have their own answers. Through my work as a dental coach, I have developed my own definition of dentist leadership. Though it may be different from standard definitions, I believe that without certain key traits, dentists cannot lead their teams, their patients, or themselves to greater success and personal satisfaction.
Connection to Your Personal Needs and Values Is Essential to Dentist Leadership
In order to lead, you have to have a final destination. Ultimately, your goals for leadership will depend on you and what is most important to you at your very core. Understand that uncovering these central values can be challenging. It takes a lot of soul-searching, but it is definitely a journey worth taking. Keep in mind, too, that when it comes to personal values, you should not be afraid to set high standards and wide boundaries.
Consistency and Focus
Although your personal goals may have no limits, your practical business-related goals should be specific and focused. When you are leading your team, it is vital that you have a plan of action. Without a strategy, you are unlikely to succeed simply because you do not know how to do so. Additionally, when you have a plan to achieve your goals you will be able to delegate and answer questions when they arise.
Creating and Maintaining Accountability
Delegating brings us to the subject of accountability. Your team members are not sheep. They want to take responsibility for their lives and for the success of the business. In fact, when you do not create responsibility and accountability for your employees, they are likely to slack on the few duties they do have. Often, employees who are seen as “lazy,” are actually just feeling undervalued. Why work hard if what they do doesn’t seem to matter?
In addition to creating accountability for your team, you must maintain accountability for yourself. You have probably met people who refused to take responsibility for their actions. Every mistake and every negative thing that ever happened to them was always someone else’s fault. Were you likely to look up to that individual as a leader?
Leaders move forwards, not backwards. You have heard of a military officer leading a charge. Have you ever heard of someone “leading” a retreat? Leadership depends on your ability to let go of the mistakes of the past, set milestones and goals, and look to the future with confidence.
Dentist Leadership Depends on True Communication
Communication is essential for leadership. You cannot guide your team and patients if you do not know how to tell them where they are going and how to get there. However, communication does not simply consist in translating ideas. It also involves listening. When you can really listen to those around you, you will be more attune to their needs and able to address the concerns of the moment. If you cannot do this, you are likely to get tripped up by obstacles of which you are unaware.
Willingness to Engage in Personal Growth
The ability to grow and develop is perhaps the most essential trait of a leader. As a dental coach, the number one problem I see among my clients is self-defeating behaviors. Success is built on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Even if you have the best of intentions and clear goals, you will get nowhere if you do not know how to drop the things that are holding you back. However, personal growth is not something you can achieve on paper. It takes hard work and real-world experience. You can find personal growth through daily interactions, tackling challenges head-on, developing communication, and living fully in the present moment.