The biggest mistakes dentists make: Neglecting leadership training

The more training that dentists have, the better prepared they will be to handle those difficult situations that come up when they least expect them in the dental practice.

Based on his extensive experience with dentists over the past 30 years, Dr. Roger P. Levin has authored a new book entitled The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make. His premise is simple. As he says in the introduction, “We can learn from our mistakes. But isn’t it better to learn from other people’s mistakes?”

Following is an excerpt from the book.

Dentists receive little or no leadership training in dental school. When they become practice owners, they lack the skills to successfully manage and motivate employees. Without proper education, leadership becomes an Achilles heel hampering practice success throughout a dentist’s career.

Most young dentists pick up leadership skills randomly from parents and family members, classmates and colleagues, books and articles, and even popular culture. It’s good to draw from many sources, but haphazard learning leads to haphazard leadership.

Another big mistake: Ignoring dentistry's best models

Excellent leadership combines good business skills and strong personal character. Leading a dental team requires:

Creating a vision for the next three years

Setting goals for the team to achieve

Creating a high-energy, positive environment

Immediately addressing any negative behavior or attitudes

Challenging people to higher levels of knowledge and capability

Demonstrating recognition and appreciation for staff effort and accomplishments

Another big mistake: Not understanding the insurance picture

Personal character refers to how dentists conduct themselves. Most don’t realize that they provide the behavioral model for staff members. The team will gradually begin to act just like the dentist.

Make leadership training a priority. Don’t try to wing it. The more training you have, the better prepared you will be to handle those difficult situations that come up when you least expect them.

Another big mistake: Not delegating to team members

Editor's Note: The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make has now been published and a digital download is available here for just $59.

Seminar Savings: Save $50 on doctor tuition for Dr. Levin’s seminar “Ignite Your Production” seminar in Towson, MD, on April 22. Register before March 22 with code DPM50 to receive your discount. For details and to register, click here.