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5 Tips for Leadership Success!

By Lisa Bainham, ADAM President

In my experience, and I have learnt by trial and error, over the last 20 years, the key to managing a successful team and therefore being part of a thriving dental practice is the people. When I say people, I mean your team and your patients. Recruiting the right people for the right job, to provide the right clinical care and customer service for your patients.
Sounds easy? I found this to be the most challenging part of my management role. Systems, procedures and skills are the easy part but when it comes to managing people that you work with daily, and get to know as people/friends/colleagues, it makes your role so much harder. Getting the balance of respect, friendship, whilst also maintaining the high standards expected can be a tricky course to run.

I was recently asked if I could provide some “Top Tips”, for good management and leadership. When I thought about it, it should be straightforward, but as their manager it’s up to you to set the bar and be the manager they need you to be so they can be the best they can be.

Be Clear! Let your team know what is expected from them. Talk to them about future plans and what their part in it is. If they can’t see the big picture, then how will they know whether they are doing it right! Brain storm, if you are the type of practice that is continuously looking for ways to improve what you do then use and respect your team’s ideas…they know the practice pretty well!

Communicate effectively. Appraisals are not just for compliance and don’t have to be just done annually. Regular discussions/chats/huddles with your team are vital to good management. Listening to their ideas and opinions is the key to systems working effectively and continuous improvement.

Know your team! Learn about individual’s behaviour patterns and find out what makes them tick….and what doesn’t.! Good leadership does not come in one flavour.

Raise the bar…. look at how you can continuously improve your practice systems and patient care and inspire your team. Standing still is not an option…let your team know that they are important and their roles will then become important to them.

Maintain standards…. invest in the very best team you can. We have always been very clear on the standards we expect from our team…if a team member is underperforming, settling for less will have an effect on the other members of your team and conflict creeps in.

Measure activity for your team and systems… not only to be included in appraisals but in all other aspects of the practice. How many referrals have we received? Where from? Conversion rates? How many patients missed appointments and why? Infiltrate this information to your team and they will understand what they need to do and how they can help to do it.

Allow your team to grow…in addition to the compulsory CPD, talk to them not just about “Skills Gaps” but other areas they may have an interest in that you are unaware of. Sometimes it’s nice to provide training on subjects that are not the obvious choices but are of a personal interest to the individuals…. We had one of our team do a Food Hygiene course last year, as she wanted to have the opportunity to provide the food for our “lunch and learns”… and judging her by her sandwich making skills, we are all so happy she did it!!
In short, look after your team and they will look after you and your practice. Motivation, engagement, communication and relationships should be one of your main priorities as a manager.

Lisa Bainham, the President of The Association of Dental Administrators and Managers, has been the Practice Manager/ at The Old Surgery Dental Practice in Cheshire from when the practice opened in 1998. She has continually gained numerous Practice Management qualifications and new skills over the years. Lisa is involved in many aspects of the practice, including, marketing, Health & Safety, quality standards, accounting and ensuring the practice runs smoothly and efficiently, and essentially relieving the dentist of most responsibility.

Lisa was awarded Practice Manager of the Year 2015 by The Association of Dental Administrators and Managers and was very proud to also win Practice Manager of the year 2016 at the prestigious Dental Awards. Over the last 18 years she has been privileged to work with some amazing dental educators, coaches and professionals in various parts of the dental industry and gained a wealth of knowledge and experience, which she shares with ADAM members, during her term as President of the association.

To find out more about ADAM, how it can help you in your role, the benefits included in membership and how to join us, visit