A common mistake owners of small businesses often make is trying to serve in all leadership and management roles at once! A dental practice is like most small businesses in this way. As the owner of a dental practice, you play the role of both CEO/leader and manager/implementer. In this post, we’ll address the important differences between being a CEO and being a manager AND why you shouldn’t wear both hats.
CEO, Manager: what’s the real difference?
As stated, these roles come down to the difference between leading and managing. Dental practice leadership involves evaluating the state of the practice and determining the mission going forward. As Jim Blasingame writes about small businesses more generally, the CEO asks these questions: Where have we been? Where are we now? Where are we going? As the owner of your dental practice, this is your job.
The practice manager, as is logical, manages! He or she takes the CEO’s answers to the question “Where are we going?” and turns them into an action plan. Through analysis, organization, effective training and delegation of tasks, the manager makes the CEO’s vision a reality. Practice management is about being on the ground, engaging in the practical realities of the day-to-day running of the business and turning goals into reality.
Dos and Don’ts for CEOs/Dental Practice Leaders
DO separate the tasks of the CEO and Manager and hire a qualified Dental Practice Manager with whom you can work cooperatively and let that person do their job!
DO stay in touch with staff through regular meetings and trainings. Keep asking yourself, and your staff, how you are performing against the goals you set for the practice. And challenge everyone on the staff to answer the question “How can we improve the dental care we are providing to our patients?”
DO think about how you can become a better leader. Consider taking a leadership seminar or workshop. Ask peers what they do to hone their leadership skills.
DO stay on top of important practice metrics, reviewing numbers on patient retention and patient acquisition and other KPIs, and communicating your vision for the future of the practice to your practice manager. In other words, lead!
DON’T micromanage the day to day running of the business. Micromanaging makes it difficult to see the bigger picture and to gather information you need to lead. Taking on too many responsibilities was the #1 most common mistake of small business owners in the Brother International Small Business Survey. Once you have hired great staff, let them do their job, and focus on practice leadership.
DON’T stop learning! Stay engaged with the latest developments in dentistry in order to continuously improve the quality of dental care that you offer. Be sure you are up to speed on new technologies and procedures. This is one task you can’t delegate. Continual learning is one of the main suggestions CEOs of large companies give to small-business CEOs.
Leadership in dentistry is about understanding the big picture and projecting your dental practice into its own bright future. Sticking to the leadership, and not confusing it with day-to-day management, will give you the time and space to be the best CEO of your small business you can be.
Image: Wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock & CandyBoxImages/Shutterstock