The Dentist’s Leadership Role

Leadership shouldn’t be a happy accident or something you fall into simply by virtue of becoming a dentist. It should be an acknowledged responsibility that you treat with genuine seriousness.

Of course, your instincts shouldn’t necessarily be ignored, but can they always be trusted? As the dentist, you are by default a leader. In reality, you should understand your role in shaping your practice’s vision as well as fostering growth for the entire team.

The hardest part about navigating the nebulous realm of leadership is clarifying and meeting the duties ascribed to your role. For dentists, you are actually fulfilling four different roles, all of which are important for general morale and success.

4 Roles of the Dental Leader

Follow the leader has real meaning in a professional space. One of your primary roles is that of the vision initiator. You have to be bold, verbal, and engaged in your vision to help your team attain the same values. You need to be fully present, especially when your practice is new or developing. The future depends on how you see it.

You will also become the educator in your practice, if you haven’t already. You must guide patients and team members toward your expectations for care. They can’t identify with your vision if you don’t yourself have the skills to state it clearly.

Your third role is that of the vision facilitator. At some point, your team and practice will be fully imbued with the tangible effects of your vision. You have to make the effort to prevent that vision from stalling through team building and careful hiring.

Finally, you must embrace your role as a mentor. This may be more challenging if you have a very strong personality, as it can make people embrace your vision even if they don’t appreciate the philosophy. What you want is a sort of vision immortality, so that even if you leave the practice, your vision and leadership live on.

Mary Osborne RDH

Mary is known internationally as a writer and speaker on patient care and communication. Her writing has been acclaimed in respected print and online publications. She is widely known at dental meetings in the U.S., Canada, and Europe as a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker. Her passion for dentistry inspires individuals and groups to bring the best of themselves to their work, and to fully embrace the difference they make in the lives of those they serve.

Mary Osborne RDH

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