Being a dentist is not just about fixing teeth and making money. Many other responsibilities come with the profession, and for which you have to have certain qualities.
First and foremost- leadership, followed by good management skills. And which becomes even more important should you own a clinic, staff, and a team of practitioners to lead.
To be able to take charge when needed is crucial also because a large number of people avoid seeing a dentist or doctor in the first place.
Be it due to dental anxiety or phobia, the fact of the matter is that untreated dental issues can lead to severe oral health problems that can last for years, decades, and in worst-case scenarios, throughout a patient’s life, all the while causing pain, discomfort, and disruption in one’s personal and social life.
And that’s where your leadership skills as a healer or your capacity to take charge come into the picture. So, instead of feeling lost and panicked when an unfavorable situation comes up, you must be able to deal with it in a calm and composed manner. Not only by providing professional care but also by empowering hesitant patients to seek medical attention at the earliest, as well as guiding your team to take appropriate measures without direct involvement.
Importance of leadership skills in a dentist
Being a leader can help you in many ways starting from your personal growth to interacting with patients, from providing proper care to better team management, and from earning a reputable status within the medical community to making the desired profits.
Here’s what you can do to accomplish that:
Have a clear vision
Having a clear vision and fixed set of goals is pretty important to keep tabs on the performance of your team as well as your clinic as a whole.
It’s the best way to measure where you stand in respect to your objectives and work ethics.
But visualizing it in your mind isn’t going to be enough. Remember, there’s a whole bunch of people; who depend on your knowledge and expertise, and who ought to be on the same page as you are to grasp the goals of the practice.
So what should you do to align them with your vision and goals?
– Share your vision with your team by displaying it in multiple places inside the clinic.
– Have predefined goals for each of your team members.
– Set-up deadlines to drive motivation and focus.
Arrange the workplace accordingly
The work environment plays a vital role in keeping your staff’s morale high. First, it will keep them stress-free, and as a result, work-oriented so that they’d be willing to give you their best.
In addition, it can also play a significant role in overcoming a patient’s fears and anxieties.
There are many ways to improve your office’s ambience:
– by playing soft music,
– by avoiding bright lights,
– with proper cooling,
– with informative posters, pictures, and appealing visuals on the walls, and books and magazines in the waiting room,
– and by using a light fragrance in the office premises.
But, creating a positive work environment is not just limited to the physical aspect of your clinic. Even your staff members including receptionists, nurses, and hygienists must also maintain a professionally sound behavior full of empathy and care for the patients.
Build rapport, trust, and control by communicating often
Communication is perhaps the most crucial part of teamwork. Plus it also helps strengthen the relationship between a dentist and his patients.
But the communication in a dental setting should never be strictly one-way, or solely instructional/ directional. It has to be open-ended as in a two-way sort of interaction.
As the leader of your firm; you should be able to listen to both your patients’ stories as well as your employee’s input and valuable feedback with patience and without any judgement.
You should also take time to understand where they are coming from to be in a better position to offer any assistance.
Regular communication with your teammates would help you gain their trust and build rapport in the long-term, plus let you display clinical and value leadership in the medical community.
Assess and identify the issue
While communicating with your team would get you the trust and control you need to run the clinic, communicating with patients would give you a lot more insights into the actual issue, its cause, and the overall diagnosis.
By understanding the issue and the psyche of your patients firsthand, you’d be in a far better position to offer them valid discounts or dental membership plans which they can pay for based on their individual needs and financial condition.
So, don’t hold back when enquiring or asking the patients the right questions. You might also want to use the standard questionnaire to assess and identify the issue, and the reasons for a patient’s visit.
Offer career advice and support to your staff
Just like you, your team members would also have their career aims and ambitions. And while you may be under the impression that the talented and ambitious ones would quit upon getting your support, that’s not the case. Employees who get moral and professional support from their employers tend to stay for longer than you can imagine.
Therefore, you must give them selfless and fair advice on how to approach or proceed on their individual goals. If possible; you might also want to support them financially because at the end of the day it will only solidify your status as a cooperative and successful thought-leader in your field.