“He who thinks he is leading but has no one following him is only taking a walk.” – Anonymous
Being a leader was not necessarily the role you consciously went for when you chose to become a denturist. However, now that you are the owner of a practice, it is best to know everything you can about how to run it as effortlessly, profitably and conscientiously as possible. You now have the role of “leader of the ship,” even if you only have one staff member. At AMI, we spend all our time training healthcare professionals to be strong leaders (CEO’s) of their practices. The results are invariably fewer hours, a lot more net income, a happier staff, and well-serviced patients.
Here are some key points for being a good and effective leader:
1. You ARE the goal setter.
“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you.”
– Max DePree
You must define the reality of what you want your practice to achieve. You are not running a democracy where everyone votes on the goals of the practice and determines your net income as the owner of the business. Of course, you want your team to catch this vision and to work toward it. Be sure you communicate it well to them and gain their agreement with it.
2. You ARE the director:
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
– Dwight Eisenhower
One of the key facets of a good leader is directing staff toward doing things to improve the practice. You must actively plan and set out what results you want each day, each week, each month and each year, and then get your staff enthusiastic about achieving these. Your practice’s statistics (billings, collections, new patients, etc.) tell you if you are reaching these goals.
4. You ARE the analyzer:
“Hindsight is 20/20 vision.” – Anonymous
When your practice is doing well, be sure to set some time aside and make note of the things that are contributing to the improvements. This can be a variety of actions such as a new ad in the newspaper, an improved recall system or even the implementation of a recall system which you never had before. It can be a new service you have started delivering following some courses that you took and are jazzed about. Maybe it was hiring a new staff member.
5. You ARE the cause:
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
As a leader you must always have the viewpoint that something can be done about any situation you run into. You can improve the statistics of the practice, even when they have plummeted and you are scared to death. This is the hallmark of a good executive or leader. Falling into apathy about all the things that you can’t do anything about is the wrong thing to do. Find something you can accomplish, and do it. Then find the next thing, and do it. Pretty soon, things will be back under control again.
6. You PRODUCE leaders:
“I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”
– Ralph Nader
If you don’t want to feel so all alone, make leaders out of your staff. As the leader, you must give people a job, train them on it and let them get on with it. Encourage them to originate ideas and systems. If you agree with it, tell them to implement it. Be willing to let them try out new methods or ideas. Cancel ones that do not work or backfire. Reward the ones that worked.
“Fortune sides with he who dares.” – Virgil
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