Dental leadership is the set of practices, attitudes and abilities that allow a person to define the direction of a practice or team, and then motivate and influence others to move in that direction toward shared goals.
Empathy is defined as “the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another.” For dentists, empathizing with patients is not only good practice.
“Lead. Live. Laugh. Love. Learn … Leave a legacy.”
These are the words hand-printed and signed by Dr. David Maloley on the inside cover of his 2018 book, “Titans of Dentistry: How the Top Performers Think and Act Differently,” co-authored by Dr. Justin Short. The book includes interviews with 39 “titans” in dentistry, providing the reader with insight into how they think and behave differently from the average practitioner.
As a dental student, we’re often not confronted with the importance of experience in business settings. My work history as a human resources professional gave me firsthand insight into the key leadership and management skills that I can use as a practicing dentist.
Thought leaders are recognized as an authority in their fields of expertise. When you want to learn something about a particular subject, these are the people you go to talk to, the ones whose opinions matter most. Thought leaders provide a lot of value, but how do you actually identify if someone is a thought leader or not?
Dr. Mark Costes has a wealth of experience in leadership and practice management, having owned more than 15 dental practices and employed hundreds of people throughout his career. He now has a group of seven practices and a consulting company in the Dental Success Institute. What qualifies him to be a coach? “Having made all the mistakes in the book,” he says. He urges dental students to learn from his experiences, immerse themselves in all of the free self-education resources out there and get out of their comfort zone.
There is no one-size-fits-all pathway to leadership. Every person’s unique experiences add to how they pursue being a leader. Whether or not you consider yourself a leader, the opportunity to take your skills to the next level are right around the corner as an ASDA member. Take a moment to reflect on what leadership means to you, and then see how ASDA can fit into that definition, even as a predental student.