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Leadership Skills Rarely Come Naturally!

April 28th, 2018 | Comments Off on Leadership Skills Rarely Come Naturally! | Blog

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By Dr. Deborah Marynak

I’m reading a terrific book by Zig Ziglar ~ “Top Performance-How to Develop Excellence in Yourself and Others”. This is a must read for all Dental Professionals for getting the most out of your career in Dentistry. Whether you’re the Boss, the Office Manager, Hygienist or Assistant, Top Performance will improve your quality of life…all facets of your life.

Here’s a section from his Forward:

MAKE THEM WANT YOUR LEADERSHIP

“The foundation for developing yourself and others is wrapped up in this principle:

You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough people get what they want!”

Mr. Ziglar goes on to say this is a principle that makes others want your Leadership, that the definition of management is “getting things done through people”. He told the story of a little boy who was trying to move a large fallen tree to get to his fort. He was pushing and pulling with all his might, but the tree wouldn’t move. His Dad had been watching him and asked, “why aren’t you using all of your strength?” The little boy objected and told his Dad that he had used all his muscles. His Dad said he had not used all his strength because he had not asked his Dad to help him.

Zig reports: “Successful managers use all their strength by recognizing, developing and utilizing the physical, mental and spiritual talents of their subordinates. They learn what makes people tick, and they transfer their own feelings of excitement and enthusiasm to those who follow their leadership.”

Notice Zig said: “successful managers”. Jennifer Hock, an internationally known expert on Leadership defines a difference between Management and Leadership in her article in Best Practice, Fall 2017, Issue No. 2. Management is a “clearly defined set of processes” or what I call systems. I’ve written about systems and their importance in developing a highly productive dental practice. Systems include scheduling, inventory, payroll, accounts receivable and payable, and problem solving.

Ms. Hock defines Leadership as “the phenomenon of positive momentum when a group of individuals, regardless of position or title, feel a sense of ownership and empowerment to lead from where they are.” Unfortunately, when I went to Dental School, there were no lectures on Leadership or Management; I would have done a better job as a practice owner with fewer lectures on fluoride and gold foil and more focus on the importance of sound Leadership. Now it’s my job to change that lack in my education.

Harry Truman said: “In periods where there is no Leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to changes things for the better.” I’d ask, is there any deliberate Leadership going on in your practice or is it standing still? In looking back on my own mistakes, well run, successful Dental Practice Owners and Managers spend years developing their Leadership skills. It’s not a hands-on course or a quick read.

In an article written by John Addison, Success Magazine, April 2016, he writes that Leadership is the “scarcest resource in the world. It’s not platinum or any commodity. It’s Leadership – passionate, strong, convicted Leadership”. He reiterates that learning to be a leader is a life-long process of learning who you are: your strengths, weaknesses, “who you are, what you want to accomplish and what makes you special.”

Will we make mistakes? I know I did and will continue to do. Fortunately, John Maxwell reports in his article “Reflective Thinking”, Success Magazine, April 2016: “If you aren’t making mistakes, you probably aren’t trying hard enough.” Take the journey of a life-long student of Leadership training; from everything I’ve read, it will not only impact your practice in a positive way, it will improve all your relationships.

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

Ronald Reagan

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