In our second installment of leadership tips and traits that everyone has forgotten but knows they are true; we reach the point, counter point that each of us face. You are the number one reason the practice does well and the number one reason the practice struggles. As obvious as this appears to me, I see most doctors pointing the finger at others for their lack of success. Leaders are accountable for their actions as well as for their offices’ performance regardless of the noise and confusion that surrounds their every day. There seems to be a “rhetoric-reality gap” in almost every office I have visited: A direct contradiction between words and actions. Actions rather than words provide meaning to your staff and your offices performance. Everything that you, the leader does, should model the actions you want to get from your staff. Your staff is watching and taking their cue from you. They will act as you act, do as you do, speak as you speak. I think all of us could be better examples for our team.
If you find yourself frustrated with the performance of others in your office, there is a good chance that you are the problem. Before you start making changes in others, take a close look at yourself. If you ask the question, who is first, the answer will always be you. By omission or commission, you are responsible for everything that happens in your office. You hired them preemptively with a plan or from desperation, trained or did not train them, paid them well or poorly, took the time to on-board them or you didn’t. Is it any surprise that you don’t get what you want? Life, and business, tends to give us what we deserve, not what we want. If you want more you have to be more. Poor modeling and actions, as well as micro managing every aspect of your practice points to an absence of acute self- awareness and leadership. As Clint Eastwood would say: A man’s got to know his own limitations. Good practices can be managed, but great practices must be led. Managed practices will always end up being average and no one needs another average practice.
The obvious truth is that you are the number one reason for the office doing well and the number one reason it struggles. Let’s dedicate our actions to being part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Once you lose your excuses, you will find your results.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
PS. One final thought: “One of the main responsibilities of a leader is to confront difficult, awkward issues quickly and with clarity, charity, and resolve.” Patrick Lencioni