Do you have the quality to be a leader? Great! What is the quality of your leadership? Not so sure are you?
Do you know how to lead teams tactfully and effectively? As business owners, we tend to believe the quality of our work is directly proportionate to our ability as leaders. We are great at what we do, our team members should accept, respect and replicate that!
Does that sound familiar? Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. If I could pinpoint one major problem in leadership roles today, it would be this- the notion that just because we are great dentists, practice owners and businessmen, we are wonderful leaders. Your ability as a reputable and competent dentist can only get you so far in leadership roles. You need to push a little harder and declutter your mind from the unnecessary jargon and clarify your roles and your goals in order to lead your team effectively.
And that is exactly what we cover today- little and big changes in your approach towards leadership that will become a game changer for you and your team.
What do You Want?
To have a great practice, you tell me! I almost sound dumb asking this question. Of course we all know what we want from life. We want to be more successful, more powerful and excel at everything that we do. Sounds about fair and clear doesn’t it?
Now ask yourself what more success, power and excellence actually means to you. If success to you means running a successful practice with say a team of 10 people, then what is getting in the way of it? What is stopping you from achieving your wants? And before you can even begin assessing the external factors, do you have the ability, the time, the patience and the skills to lead a team of 10 people? Where are you lacking? What do you need to work on more in order to be at that position of power and understanding to lead people more effectively?
Also what is your appetite for moving forward? Are you willing to ditch your Saturday night drinks with friends to work on your books till the wee hours of the morning? Are you willing to work two additional hours daily in order to save up for luxury dental chairs? Again, the question remains if you know what you want and if you have the will and appetite to move towards it?
It is only when you are clear of these goals can you have your team members on board as well. Otherwise it would be like all of you are sailing towards a distant island without anyone having any idea what or where that island is.
Realize Potential of Your Team Members
We all know that team member who arrives a few minutes late, leaves right on the clock, constantly checks his phone during team meetings and the only time you’d see him mingling with other team members is when there is a birthday cake around. Yes, that team member’s potential is he likes to stick to his job and not take any more responsibility than he really must. Don’t trust him to help build the culture at your practice; just be grateful if he doesn’t mess with it.
On the other hand, there would be that borderline annoying team member who asks too many questions, wants to do extra work without even being asked and has a lot to say during team meetings. His potential is that he wants to grow with you, because he understands that his growth runs parallel to that of your practice. Listen to him, respect him and guide him to help you achieve greater things.
As humans, we gravitate towards our most dominant thoughts of ourselves, of the people closest to us, of the expectations that we’ve got of our team, of our practice, of our business and the community at large. We gravitate towards all these things. And this is where intentionality comes in. We need to be intentional of our actions and ourselves at large. There needs to be purpose to your actions.
Are your current actions contributing towards your long term goals? Do you know what you want from your staff? Have you made yourself clear to them? You need to let your team members know what you are doing where you are going and what they need to do to keep everyone on track and achieve those goals. Intentionality is about being purposeful about the direction that you want to move in.
Define Your Expectations
In a nutshell, a leader has two important tasks at hand. One is to know what he wants from his team and the other is to know what he wants for his team. In order to achieve the former, you need to define your expectations. You can’t just tell your team to do ‘great work or excellent work’ and then leave them wondering what excellent work actually means as per your standards. Ask five different people the meaning of excellence and you’d probably get six different answers. In order for people to meet your expectations, you need to first define what those are.
Be clearer of what is expected of your team members so that you can easily hold them accountable for it. So rather than going ‘do good work’ if you’d go ‘please make sure you send out post-procedure e-mails to all the patients by every Monday evening’ you set yourself and your team member accountable in a concise manner.
Facilitating the Team’s Wants
Now the other end of the spectrum is understanding what we want for the team. It is about engagement, connectedness, inclusiveness and contribution. Most of the people working in any environment are doing it beyond the pay check. Not everyone comes to work wondering about when they’d be able to go home. They want to contribute in a broader sense, and as a leader, it is your job to facilitate them. You need to know what motivates a team member? What is something that they’d be willing to do for free? Not that you are asking them to do it for free, but rather to get a better idea of what brings them joy? What gets them excited, annoyed, angry and disappointed? What is something about the job that they would rather change? Again, engagement and respect towards their contribution can greatly help in achieving this goal.
Needless to say, leadership is by no means an easy feat. You need to lead the pack by walking behind the pack. You only get to the top by staying at the bottom and letting the rest of the team members walk all over you. It is about putting everyone’s needs and desires first so that yours are eventually met. It is a twisted, ironic relationship between you and your team members, but one that once truly established can lead to greater things for your business and your life.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready …. here are 4 ways I can help you grow your dental practice:
1. Grab a free chapter from my book “Retention – How to Plug the #1 Profit Leak in Your Dental Practice”
The book is the definitive guide to patient retention and how to use internal marketing to grow your practice – Click Here
2. Join the Savvy Dentist community and connect with dentists who are scaling their practice too
It’s our Facebook group where clever dentists learn to become commercially smart so that they have more patients, more profit and less stress. – Click Here
3. Attend a Practice Max Intensive live event
Our 2 day immersive events provide access to the latest entrepreneurial thinking and actionable strategies to drive your practice forward. You’ll leave with a game plan to take your results to the next level. If you’d like to join us, just send me a message with the word “Event and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here
4. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your profit from 6 figures to 7 figures …. just send me a message with the word “Private”… tell me a little about your practice and what you would like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here