There are six behavioral competencies critical to successful leadership in patient-centered dentistry. Today, let’s take a look at them:
1. EMOTIONAL MATURITY: High performing leaders in patient-centered dentistry are grounded, centered, and in control of themselves emotionally. They are therefore perceived by others as having stable, reliable, positive and predictable moods. Consequently, Care Team members feel safe to express themselves, stretch themselves, and appropriately challenge each other when an individual’s actions are perceived to be violating the practice purpose – even if it is the leader who is dropping the ball.
2. SELF-AWARE: Successful leaders in patient-centered dentistry have the ability to accurately self-assess. They are realistic and they know their weaknesses and strengths. They make the appropriate adjustments to compensate for their blind spots and weaknesses in a timely fashion.
3. BALANCED: Successful leaders in patient-centered dentistry have the ability to balance work life and personal life, as one inevitably influences the other.
4. DECISIVE: Successful leaders in patient-centered dentistry are clear- headed and decisive at critical moments. This decisiveness emerges from a clear sense of purpose and mission. They take into account the views of others, but in the end, take ownership of problems in their purview and act in a timely fashion.
5. PARTICIPATORY STYLE: Successful leaders in patient-centered dentistry utilize an effective participative management style. They focus on leading – which involves getting others to “buy-in” to ideas, strategies, and plans ( great leaders create “disciples”). This is typically done in a facilitative fashion as the care team has already been carefully selected to share common values and a deep belief in the practice purpose (most discussions are therefore centered around how to execute “doing the right thing” instead of around “What is the right thing?”).
6. RESILIENT: Successful leaders in patient-centered dentistry are tough-minded. They show resiliency in the face of obstacles. They know and understand that the “people side” of dentistry can be unpredictable and sometimes disappointing. They overcome challenges and handle pressure well. Consequently, they project a sense of confidence in the face of adversity which causes others to follow their lead.
Successful leadership is the ever-evolving and creative act of managing yourself and others to create chosen positive outcomes. How well are you doing in these six areas?
Paul A. Henny, DDS