The Importance of Empowering Others
By Dr. Jennifer S.
My dental career began long before my admission to dental school. For quite a few years, I practiced as a hygienist in a dental office. This has offered me a different perspective than many of my colleagues. As I now transition from associate to business owner, I've drawn upon that perspective more and more, and I now realize the importance of empowering members of my dental team.
I don't know why this revelation hit me so hard. Possibly because it was so obvious, so basic, that it should have been instilled within me as naturally as the characteristics of honesty, a hard work ethic, trust, etc. The ability to confidently encourage, motivate and empower those around you is an incredible characteristic to possess.
I believe that the skill of empowering others eludes the dental professional for many reasons. As students, we spend years studying and learning material in order to pass exams. We learn the importance of making the grade and "making it happen" all by ourselves. As an associate, perfecting skills, interacting with the rest of the dental team and absorbing the first exposure to the business environment can be overwhelming. Sometimes it is difficult to focus on anyone else in the office because you have your own issues to deal with. But as you master your own skills and eventually begin to run your own practice, the need to focus on those around you is imperative to keeping a stable and happy staff.
The skill of empowering others can do a number of wonderful things. You'll have the ability to improve the self-confidence, skills, and education of your staff. This is turn will make your life easier and help your practice to become a happier place to be. A few key items to get you started:
- Lead by example
- Request input & feedback
- Share your experiences and mistakes
- Hold monthly staff meetings
- Invest in your staff's education
In the end, the importance of empowering others is summed up in the following statement: "People learn faster from successes than through their failures." So, providing direction, knowledge, skills, resources and support will help your staff succeed. Not to mention the success that you will notice when you are able to move your well-functioning office in whichever direction you choose!