You don’t have to be a natural leader, just understand that some form of leadership is required
I visit a number of dental practices each month and therefore see many different styles of leadership. It is rare that I see a ‘leader’ asking themselves the following key questions:
- Are we properly organised, with the right resources?
- Is everybody clear what they have to do?
- Are they prepared (motivated enough?) to go the extra mile to deliver success?
I might add a fourth:
- Does everyone know what success looks like?
So often the Practice Principal and Practice Manager will chat through an issue and perhaps formulate a solution. But more often than not there will be no means to properly promulgate the solution to ALL staff members. Most Practices are crying out for effective leadership and effective might mean just simply having a very effective way for communication to happen.
Clear leadership can be provided by using the following:
- Daily/weekly/monthly huddle
- Staff Noticeboard
- Staff ‘Update’ emails (adhoc/weekly/monthly)
- Practice Operations Manual (POM)
- Monthly Reporting
- Employee of the Month/Quarter/Year (but it must be earned, with a clear citation of why it has been awarded and what the positive behaviours where)
You don’t have to be a natural leader to display all the signs of a good leader. You just need to acknowledge that if you create a structure for yourself (in terms of when you will communicate), you are some way to making yourself clear.
Without the leader showing, by personal example, the behaviours that they wish to see, it is unlikely that real success will come. Examples, would include:
- Arriving early, putting on a pressed, clean uniform and displaying a friendly, cheerful demeanour
- Do what you say you are going to do – staff appraisals, Associate payments (5th working day of the month?) etc.
- Picking up a ringing phone and dealing with the enquiry in a relaxed, courteous and professional manner
- Emptying the bin (that should have already been done) – the little things count as well
- Have the moral courage to deal with a staff transgression – explain clearly and reasonably how something should correctly be done
- Stepping in to see the ‘Emergency’ when they have a free slot
- Ensuring that the fee for the appointment is always processed for when the patient gets to Reception
- Taking the patient to the desk and introducing them to the receptionist with a clear summary of what is now required
- Warmly praising the Nurse for providing great assistance to a nervous patient
- Buying at least the first round of drinks (!) and talking to every staff member at a Practice night out
- Getting up in front of the staff (regularly) and giving a ‘vision’ for where you want to go. Clarity is key
If you want to reap the benefits of good leadership, decide what your style of leadership will be.