Ten Commandments for Effective Leadership in Dentistry

James Paskert, MD, outlined the following tips for being a successful leader in the Physician Executive Journal. These ten points resonate as a golden rule for leaders and aspiring leaders in all fields, including dentistry. In fact, this advice can help build more meaningful relationships in every aspect of your professional life.

  1. “People may not remember what you say, but they always remember how you made them feel.” (Wisdom borrowed from the work of author Maya Angelou.)
  2. Happiness exists in the ‘gray zone’. The middle gray zone is where collegiality and teamwork flourish, not in the ‘black-and-white’ area.
  3. Think ‘and’ instead of ‘or’ for the win. It is critical for dental professionals to learn to craft win-win solutions.
  4. Fifty-one percent is not enough to build consensus. A simple majority will rarely provide the support you need.
  5. Be an attentive listener. Don’t interrupt, finish others’ sentences or talk over people.
  6. Build a goodwill bank account with other dentists. Get to know as many colleagues and healthcare specialists in your workplace as possible. Attach a face and a personality to each individual.
  7. Never let your boss be surprised. Manage up. Period.
  8. Clinicians, with business training, can be great administrators. They are concerned with quality and patient safety.
  9. Above all, maintain transparency in all communications. Be timely, include all necessary content and follow up promptly.
  10. Use email respectfully and cautiously. The phone is often still the wisest and safest choice.

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