The final rule of leadership is that owners who do not have people following them are not leaders. Kind of a “duh” statement in a Captain Obvious fashion, but one overlooked by almost ever doctor I talk to. The symptom would be a “group” of people working together rather than a “team”. These doctors feel they need to micro-manage every aspect of their practice because there just are not any good employees where you live. You are always creating a carrot and stick scenario where you may get staff to comply, but not willingly. We are coming full circle again: You are the number one reason your office does well and the number one reason it struggles. It comes down to the difference between management and leadership. Your goal as the leader is to transform your staff by leading in a manner that inspires others to follow.
On the other hand, doctors that have learned to lead find that their first job is to define what is “core” in their offices. It is vision driven. We have to understand that without a strong and clear vision, there is no way to assemble a team of like-minded employees. These same doctors embrace change, rather than hoping the current dental economy will return to the way it used to be. As that gifted leader, you must model the values and performance you expect in others. This is the only way for you to create the culture that will perpetuate the vision of the practice you always thought you would have. In this ideal culture, there are goals, accountability, and consequences. You ultimately empower your team through culture and results that yield teamwork based on the commitment to the vision.
Great teams are the result of the ultimate goal of leadership. These teams are committed to the desired results driven by your culture and vision. This is a far cry from just having them comply with your rules and regulations. The miracle of transformational leadership is that there is no need to manage your staff. They become self-policing and internally motivated. Instead, you can focus on managing the process, not the people. Great processes or systems that are understandable, scalable, repeatable, and adaptable regardless of the situation or economy, ensure your consistent growth and long-term retention of employees. You, the doctor and leader, become part of the team. You and those you lead finally find that partnering with one another solves a plethora of challenges. These descriptions of transformational leadership are what you have always been looking for. In the second addition of The Super General Dental Practice, you will find it in our moto and way of life: Purpose Driven, Doctor Led, Staff Owned. These chapters will change your perspective and add rocket fuel to your growth. Simply go to www.supergeneralpractice.com and get your free copy. Learn how to become the leader your team needs. This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
PS. “People don’t want to be managed. They want to be led. Whoever heard of a world manager? World leader, yes. Education leader, yes. Political leader. Religious leader. Scout leader. Community leader. Labor leader. Business leader. Yes. They lead. They don’t manage. The carrot always wins over the stick. Ask your horse. You can lead your horse to water, but you can’t manage him to drink. If you want to manage somebody, manage yourself. Do that well and you’ll be ready to stop managing and start leading.” John C. Maxwell