You look in the mirror every day…to check if your hair is in place, how your clothes fit, whether your make-up is right. Based on what you see, you might straighten your tie, reapply your lipstick, pass the comb through one more time. You want to be sure that you see yourself as others will see you.
When was the last time you stepped back and looked in the ‘leadership mirror’? Is your image of yourself as a leader consistent with how your employees see you? Do you reflect characteristics of vision, composure, integrity, empathy? Have you aligned your perceptions with your staff’s views?
To look in the mirror and ask for honest feedback takes confidence and courage. You risk seeing something negative about yourself. But the only way you can grow and learn is to challenge yourself to improve. To be successful requires continuous development. It means identifying your strengths – the things you do well and enjoy the most – and facing your limitations, your underdeveloped skills – the things you need to learn and/or do better.
More than any other single factor, YOU are the key to improving your practice production. Here are some guidelines to becoming a better leader.
Do a self-assessment. Ask 10 people who know you well these five questions:
- What do I do well?
- What do I not do well?
- What would you like to see me keep doing?
- What would you like to see me start doing?
- What would you like to see me stop doing?
Next, list your skills into the following seven categories:
- Definite Strengths – I do these easily and effectively. I am at my best.
- Strengths Overused – Too much of a good thing is bad. An example is confident to the point that you look arrogant.
- Unacknowledged Strengths – Others see me doing these things well. I was not aware of these strengths.
- Weaknesses – I don’t do these well.
- Blind Spots – You see strengths where others see weaknesses.
- New Requirements – I’ve never done this before and need new information.
- Uncertain – I need more feedback.
First and foremost, celebrate your strengths. By recognizing your talents you foster the confidence and courage needed to persevere in your own development. Determine how and where you can leverage your strengths to develop your areas of weakness.
Balance your overused strengths. Think of your personality style like a radio dial. If the volume is too soft or too loud, the music isn’t as pleasant as when the audio is adjusted correctly. To be an effective leader you need the right style at the right time so that it is at the right level for your patients and your staff.
Identify your weaknesses. You will be more effective in your efforts if you prioritize and focus. Commit to modifying one or two behaviors. Set observable action steps to move you closer to your intended leadership goal. Share your plan with employees so they can continue to give you timely, honest feedback. Just like the training you would pursue to learn a new dental procedure or the use of a new product, leadership skills can be acquired with information and rehearsal.
Ask for help. Research indicates that employees are more likely to give the benefit of doubt to bosses who admit their shortcomings and strive to do something about it. Involve your staff in your plan. Get a mentor or a coach - someone who will challenge you as well as give you support. McKenzie Management also offers a series of development guidebooks to assist you in improving your effectiveness.
The potential to become a better leader is well within your capability! Contact Dr. Haller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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