We spend a lot of our time reading, whether it’s PowerPoint slides, research articles or textbooks. The conceptual knowledge we gain in our first two years of dental school positively impacts our procedural knowledge in clinic. However, there are other aspects of clinical practice that aren’t taught as thoroughly in school, including effective leadership and communication. These four books are great resources for enhancing these skills.
1. “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” Collaboration within a team is key to the strength, cohesiveness and success of that team. As I’m sure we’re all aware, there are times when a team can become disharmonious. This book identifies five main reasons for team failure and provides tips to help you maneuver through them successfully.
2. “What Every Body Is Saying.” Did you know that communication is 55 percent body language, 38 percent tone of voice and 7 percent verbal? With so much non-verbal communication, a book like this is a great resource to help you read body language. In addition, it provides tips to help you express confidence and trustworthiness through your posture. This can be a helpful skill to have when working with patients or even at a future networking event.
3. “Radical Candor.” As you continue in the dental field, you’re likely to lead others in some capacity, whether that be as an ASDA leader or in a dental practice. Leading a new group is always challenging, and it can be difficult to stray away from the superficial “boss-employee” relationship. This book helps you identify how to build meaningful and honest relationships with your team members so that your team can be productive.
4. “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It.” Though we may not notice it, we negotiate on a daily basis. This book provides tips and practical examples about negotiating, which can be used in business, school or any casual situation. Learn when to alter your tone of voice or what types of questions to ask in order to successfully negotiate.
This recommended reading list is meant to supplement your dental education to help you become a well-rounded dentist. Leadership, communication and negotiation are skills that every dentist will use throughout their profession. The earlier we develop them, the more effective they’ll be. With these books, you’ll have the foundation you need to excel in these skills.
~ Karina Valentin, Western ’20, District 11 Trustee