09.11.09 Issue #392 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Dr. Nancy Haller
Dentist Coach
McKenzie Management
coach@ mckenziemgmt.com
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The Personality of Dentistry: How Do You Measure Up?

To succeed in dentistry, you need good technical and behavioral skills. We refer to the latter as “personality” – enduring traits and qualities that influence our actions.  There is no doubt that you need strong cognitive abilities to be admitted to dental school, and solid clinical skills to graduate. However, once you are in a practice, the impact of your personality on patients and staff is the deciding factor on whether you have a mediocre or thriving business… and also whether you find joy in your work or feel stressed and burned out. 

A major theory of vocational choice argues that particular personality types are attracted to certain work environments. The closer the match between your personality and the requirements of that job, the more you can apply your skills and ability on problems that you find interesting. Ultimately, a person’s work performance is determined by an interaction of personality and environment, with the best performance occurring when there is a good fit between both. The bottom line is if you are going to take your practice to a new level, you need to know your personality. Whether you want your staff to perform more efficiently or your patients to be more amenable to treatment recommendations, your capacity to influence others depends on your personality!

Consider the following: Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones have almost the same qualifications. They both graduated from top-ranked dental schools. Perhaps they even practice in similar communities. Yet Dr. Smith makes $75,000 a year, after expenses, while Dr. Jones makes $300,000.

In my experience coaching dentists, I have found that the most important factor for success is the dentist and his/her personality. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked. The belief is that revenues are raised by having more high-tech equipment, training in new procedures, upgraded office furniture, etc. These things may be helpful, but it is the dentist’s ability to effectively communicate, manage staff and relate with patients that enables the practice to flourish. It is Dr. Jones’ personality that enables him to command a salary that is four times that of Dr. Smith.

While there is no perfect job match, satisfaction with your job is directly related to the “goodness of fit” between your personality and the personality of dentistry. The good news is that you don’t need to spend years on the couch analyzing your early childhood to figure out what makes you tick. Now you can assess your personality in the comfort of your own office or home. McKenzie Management researched the personalities of peak performing dentists. We measured 12 psychological traits along a behavioral continuum. You’ll answer 107 true-false questions, it takes less than a half an hour, and it’s incredibly affordable. In minutes you’ll have a comparison of your score with those of working dentists who have been identified as peak performers.

Before you take the test, evaluate yourself informally. Keep in mind that strengths overused can become weaknesses. What’s important is keeping the right balance between the two ends of the spectrum. For example, an overly gregarious dentist may not listen closely enough to patients concerns. A very reserved dentist may not talk enough to put patients at ease. Therefore, rate yourself on whether you do or do not have “just the right amount” of each trait.

1. Cool, Reserved Warm, Easygoing
2. Easily Upset Calm, Stable
3. Not Assertive Dominant
4. Sober, Serious Lively
5. Expedient Conscientious
6. Shy, Timid Venturesome
7. Suspicious Trusting
8. Practical Imaginative
9. Self-Doubting Self-Assured
10. Traditional Open Minded
11. Group-Oriented Self-Reliant
12. Undisciplined Organized

Then assess yourself on these five global factors of personality. As you did before, determine whether you have a good balance or if you lean toward the extreme end of each continuum.   

1. Introverted Extraverted
2. Stress-Prone Stress-Resistant
3. Receptive Tough Minded
4. Accommodating Independent
5. Unrestrained Self-Controlled

Now click onto the McKenzie website and order the Dentist Profile. When you receive your report, do a comparison between your self-assessment and the formal results. See which of the 12 personality traits are a “good fit” and which, if any, are a “poor fit.” If you know yourself well, there should be close alignment. If there are gaps, identify areas where you can begin adjusting your behavior.

I have specialized in testing for over 25 years in numerous applications. I assure you that the McKenzie Employee Assessment Test may seem simple, but it is based on nearly 60 years of research done by the Institute for Personality and Ability Testing (IPAT). IPAT has partnered exclusively with McKenzie Management to create this exciting and specialized application for the dental field.

If you desire a more rewarding professional life, turn that dream into a reality by taking the first step. Assess your personality and determine the fundamental drivers that influence your behavior. Become a peak performing dental leader starting today!

Contact Dr. Haller at coach@mckenziemgmt.com. For each Dentist Profile you purchase in the month of September, McKenzie Management will give you a complimentary test for a member of your staff. 

Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like information about any of her practice-building seminars, contact her at coach@mckenziemgmt.com

Interested in having Dr. Haller speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.

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