10 Leadership Skills To Hone for Your Practice

Dentists are leaders.

You may or may not have known that fact when you signed up for dental school. However, at some point while you were building your team and planning your dental practice, you figured out that if you are a dentist, you are also a leader.

This is especially true in the field of orthodontics, where relationship building and strategic planning are both key. To kick off your new year, here are 10 leadership skills that general and pediatric dentists who practice orthodontics want to embody.

1. Identifying a Personal Leadership Style

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to lead. Rather, there are many different leadership styles and frameworks to consider.

Are you authoritarian, or do you prefer to take more of a delegative approach? Or do you find that democratic leadership feels more natural? Consider the strategies that bring out the most confident, effective leader in you and start to nurture them.

When you take the time to identify your personal leadership style, you can help lead your team more successfully. While you can glean inspiration and motivation from others in your space, it’s important to approach this effort with your own intention.

2. Setting a Strong Example

When you model leadership skills in your own office, you create an open door for others to do the same. Empowered, confident team members are an asset to both your practice and your patients, and these are tools that can serve your workforce long term.

At the same time, don’t be afraid to take a new course when a particular strategy isn’t working. A leader who remains flexible and agile in the face of change isn’t deterred by setbacks or roadblocks.

3. Embracing Workplace Diversity

Within your dental practice, you’ll find many different skills and personalities. One employee’s strong suits might be another’s weaknesses and vice versa. No two team members are alike, and that’s what makes your team so unique.

Instead of forcing everyone into the same mold, look for ways to use these differences to strengthen your office from the inside out. Assign tasks that are well suited to each person’s character and competence, and watch them shine.

4. Embracing Different Types of Intelligence

It’s critical to understand that there are many different types of intelligence.

For instance, some people are absolutely brilliant at visual tasks, such as interpreting charts or recognizing patterns. Then there are those who excel at verbal tasks, such as explaining difficult concepts or giving persuasive talks. These are just a few of the categories to know.

When you grasp this concept, you can see your employees’ strengths more clearly. You can find dental practice success by celebrating and championing your workforce and recognizing their individual abilities.

5. Encouraging Risks

As humans, most of us are naturally averse to risk. We want to be in full control of our circumstances and fear the unknown that lies ahead. For this reason, many people choose to stay content and rarely challenge the status quo.

While that strategy may work for a while, it can lead to a stagnant workplace. You want your employees to feel encouraged to reach their fullest potentials, and they can’t do so unless your company culture encourages a healthy degree of risk.

Give your employees opportunities to think outside the box and take risks when necessary. Assure them that you’ll support their efforts and give them the resources they need to succeed. Who knows what type of innovation you may inspire!

6. Fostering a Collaborative Environment

Great dental leaders don’t work solo. Rather, they encourage ongoing communication and collaboration among team members and colleagues. When you foster this type of environment, your employees will feel more comfortable working together.

This makes it easier to share ideas, solve problems, and exchange data. Not only does this help your workplace run more effectively, but it can also elevate the level of customer service you’re able to deliver.

7. Promoting Professional Development

When your employees have the chance to expand their careers and sharpen their skills, your whole practice benefits. To this end, look for professional-development opportunities that can help them expand their technical and clinical knowledge. As a dentist practicing orthodontics, you might encourage your employees to try an orthodontics assistant course or an orthodontic dental hygienist course.

At the same time, look for areas in which you can also achieve personal and professional growth. For instance, there’s always room to up your game with advanced orthodontic training. As all dentists know, continuing education is a must for growth!

8. Fostering Productivity and Creativity

Do your employees have access to tools and technology that can make them as productive as possible? From online patient-scheduling platforms to advanced laser dentistry systems, there are many solutions that can improve performance and production.

As you consider where to invest your time, energy, and money, look for programs that also encourage creativity. When employees are required to work in overly restrictive environments, the dip in morale can directly affect the level of work they deliver.

9. Adapting to Industry Progress

A successful leader doesn’t fear the natural progression of their industry, nor do they try to stop it or work against it. To lead your dental team effectively, you’ll need to get comfortable with the inevitable change that will happen in your field.

This might mean embracing new technology or adopting a new best practice. By staying in the know about your niche, you can adapt accordingly and encourage others to follow suit.

10. Celebrating Successes and Learning From Failures

Despite your best efforts, you won’t lead perfectly all the time. There will undoubtedly be great wins as well as some steps you wish you hadn’t taken. This applies to you and the team members under your charge.

Instead of lamenting where something went wrong, try to learn from failure and approach the same situation better the next time. Along the way, take time to celebrate and reward the times when someone got it right, and encourage repeat behavior.

Hone these leadership skills in 2022.

The new year is a blank slate. Use the months ahead to sharpen your leadership skills and create a successful, effective dental team who attracts new patients and retains existing ones.

With the right approach, your reputation can precede you in the very best way. Interested in expanding your practice and growing professionally in 2022? Check out our orthodontic courses online and contact us with any questions.