When doctors work on becoming stronger leaders, they inevitably revisit two important lessons of dental practice management. First, critics do not motivate teams. Regular criticism makes your team believe you are against them, and what team exerts the extra effort needed to grow a practice when they believe the doctor is not rooting for them to succeed?
Secondly, a paycheck is not a substitute for positive feedback. Your team needs to see more than your signature on their check to know you value and appreciate their efforts.
Adam Bryant writes a column for the New York Times that carriers the same title as his current book, The Corner Office, in which he plucks pearls of wisdom from CEO’s across the country. When it comes to leading teams, the best CEO’s understand that employees want to know their boss is rooting for them.
How does your team know you are on their side? You shift your leadership style from a critic to a coach. You make the effort to connect with your team and deliver positive feedback, which establishes the rapport needed to then coach your team on any shortcomings.
Consider how difficult it is for any of us to hear something negative about our performance? Now imagine hearing that from a critic. How well would you respond? Contrast that with a leader who uses the coaching model, who has taken the time over the years to establish rapport with you and is therefore better able to offer timely constructive feedback.
One of my leadership mentors advised me many years ago to carry several coins in my pocket and each time I offered positive feedback to someone, I could remove a coin. The goal was to have an empty pocket at the end of the day. I challenge you to try the same thing. If you find you are not able to consistently empty your pocket, you have isolated one of the biggest challenges facing your team and your practice.
Dental practice-management consulting can help you fine-tune leadership skills.