10 Dental Leadership Principles to Elevate Your Team’s Success

Dental professionals who are eager to achieve often find themselves in leadership positions. But, leading a team to organizational success isn’t the same as leading yourself to the pinnacle of your career. Leadership skills take intentionality and integrity to learn and instill in others.

In working with hundreds of dental practices and DSOs, we’ve found that highly effective leaders have a knack for inspiring others in a unique way. In this blog, we’ll explore the impact of leadership skills and which specific skills you can use to align with your employees.

Why Is It Important to Maintain Strong Dental Leadership Principles?

Let’s look at an example outside of dentistry for a moment. When you drive from your own neighborhood into another, you might notice a subtle shift in the way the environment feels. In the case of neighborhoods, this is often because of zoning that dictates how properties should be kept. In the case of your dental practice, how patients (and employees) feel in your office environment will be dictated by how your leadership skills shine through your team. 

And how do you get those skills to ‘shine through’ exactly? By ensuring your team’s success. Leaders who uplift and inspire their teams aren’t doing it just for the sake of building their ego — they’re building a culture of care and collaboration. 

Dental leadership principles can become an integral part of the way everyone works in your practice, not just the senior members, dentists, and specialists. As you review our top ten dental leadership principles, consider how you might embody and practice them so that they become contagious to your team members. 

10 Dental Leadership Principles Every Professional Should Follow

#1 Align Your Leadership With a Vision and Mission

All other leadership principles come back to a vision and mission. When you know what the purpose of your practice is, you’ll have a focal point to rally your team around and revisit yourself. Don’t make your vision too abstract. Set a mission that is attainable and agreeable. Praise your staff when they are exhibiting behaviors that align with your vision and mission.

#2 Empower Your Team 

Each individual employee may take a different approach to work and be incentivized in different ways. Look for ways that your employee’s personalities, priorities, and values align with your vision and mission. Then, empower your employees to become better versions of themselves through working with your company. This empowerment can be both professional and personal. 

#3 Foster Trust With Patients and Staff

Trust is not given, it is earned. Practicing leadership principles, following through on your word, and being an attentive listener are just a few ways to build trust. Don’t rush the trust building process. Take the time to understand your patients and staff and the trust will naturally follow.

#4 Manage Your Emotions 

One of the most underrated leadership skills is managing your emotions. Leaders who remain regulated, calm, and confident even in stressful situations garner more respect from their employees and are able to maintain an objective point of view that serves all. Especially in the dental industry, where many patients face medical fears, having a calming demeanor can help build long-lasting relationships.

#5 Prioritize Top Quality Work 

Providing your team with everything they need to perform at their best is a leadership skill that consistently produces top-quality results. Leaders who remain attentive to their team’s needs and are agile in the face of fluctuating demands create exceptional working conditions that naturally maintain high standards. Provide your team with opportunities for continuing education and training. Alternatively, keep your practice up to date with new tools and procedures. 

#6 Encourage Employee Collaboration 

Leaders don’t just answer every question that comes their way. They empower their people to find the answers themselves. When employees collaborate, they become more resourceful, autonomous, and productive. Essentially, collaboration produces ‘self-led’ teams.

#7 Promote Excellent Communication

Quality communication is a leadership skill that influences every interaction you have with team members and patients. The more efficient your communication is, the more effective your leadership will be. Consider ways your team could use systems, processes, and intentional meetings to improve communication. Extend this communication to your patients by asking for reviews or testimonials. 

#8 Create Opportunities for Ongoing Training

Encourage your employees to engage in ongoing training by providing opportunities to learn and giving them the space in their schedules to take advantage of them. Employees will be eager to improve when you show them, in a very tangible way, that education matters in your office. 

#9 Be a Life-Long Learner

In addition to encouraging training on their teams, the best leaders never stop being students, either. They are always open to learning and improving. Intentionally seek ways to regularly keep your skills up to date and ensure that you will continue to be an effective dental leader. 

#10 Lead by Example 

No amount of cheerleading, teaching, and ‘telling’ your staff about your values, vision, and goals for the practice will ever outperform leading by example. When your staff sees that you live out these leadership principles, they’ll be more likely to emulate your behavior and expand these principles in your practice. 

We’re more than a recruitment partner — we’re dental leadership experts. We can help you with strategies to attract new hires and clients by bringing a culture of learning, collaboration, and quality service to your office or DSO. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your unique needs


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