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Although the Principal Dentist is the senior figure in any practice, it is often assumed that he or she must also be its leader.

Leadership, however, is a full-time activity and, as we’ve stated earlier, unless a dentist is carrying out clinical dentistry, he or she is losing money.

It therefore falls to the Dental Practice Manager to lead the practice.

It is a common misconception that some people are ‘born leaders’. Leaders are made. Leadership is an acquirable skill set.

  • Leaders don’t simply compel people to do as they’re told, leaders develop a shared vision which internal and external stakeholders can buy into and endorse.
  • Leaders encourage others to contribute by recognising and rewarding effort and innovation.
  • Leaders influence attitudes and beliefs and create a positive, confident climate for all.
  • Leaders are proactive and respond intelligently to the needs of individuals and the clinic.
  • Leaders understand the difference between working ‘in the business’ and working ‘on the business’.
  • Leaders share knowledge, build coalitions, delegate where necessary and, ultimately, create new leaders.

As you can see, none of the points above require a particular genetic make-up. In fact, it would be reasonable to say there is a certain amount of common sense at play here. The cumulative effective of these ‘common sense’ attitudes and abilities can often give the impression of a ‘born leader’, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Leadership can be taught.

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