4 Strategies to Sharpen Your Leadership Skills

February 3, 2016
Bill Schu

Dentists in private practice are more than just healthcare providers. They're also business leaders. If the latter doesn't come naturally, follow these tips.

Most dentists are team leaders, whether or not they want that responsibility. Many embrace the role with confidence and ease, but others have a more difficult time with a leadership role. If you’re a member of the latter group, don’t fret: there are some simple strategies you can employ to get the most out of your inherent role as the leader of your practice.

Keep a Positive Outlook

Teams often reflect the outlook of their leadership. Make sure you keep a positive attitude and outlook about the current and future outlook of the business. Take personal responsibility for things the practice could be doing better, and involve your team in open discussions about ways you could improve services or the patient experience. Staff members who feel invested in the practice—who feel as if they have a voice—will be more motivated and more likely to have positive interactions with your patients.

Have a Plan for the Future of the Practice

Many dentists shine in their delivery of dental care, but some can struggle in the other important aspects of running a business. Businesses such as dentistry that often have relatively stable income from year to year nevertheless need a continued commitment to innovation and a plan for the future. Practices that earned significant portions of their revenue from teeth-whitening only a decade ago are finding that source much less dependable as over-the-counter whitening aids that really work have cut into that aspect of the business. Improvements in computerized technology are opening up new potential lines of business all the time. Do you follow the trends? Do you talk with your colleagues about areas of potential business expansion?

Market the Practice

In today’s business world, you simply must have a social media presence and a robust business website. But those are table stakes. You should also have a social media strategy and an overall marketing plan designed to bring in new customers. As part of that plan, pursue exemplary care for your current patients and show genuine interest in them as people and not just customers. Only then will they be likely to refer you to a friend.

Have a Robust Life Outside of the Practice

When you own or run your own business, the temptation can be to focus on it and nothing else. As they key cog in your dental practice, you may think you can’t ever afford to take a break. But time away from the practice is time to rejuvenate, and everyone needs it. You’ll be a better leader, a better person, and a better businessperson if you take some time away when you need it.

Leadership in your practice doesn’t always come easy, and it doesn’t have to. But if you act with integrity, make difficult decisions in a straightforward manner, and stand by your staff and your patients, you will, by extension, increase the effectiveness of your practice.

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