Alun Rees - Dental Business Coach

Alun K Rees BDS is The Dental Business Coach. An experienced dental practice owner who changed career he now works as a coach, consultant, troubleshooter, analyst, speaker, writer & broadcaster. He brings the wisdom gained from his and others’ successes to help his clients achieve the rewards their work and dedication deserve.

Alun can be contacted via https://www.dentalbusinesscoach.co.uk/contact
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Are you a leader?

leadership-3331244_192_20201207-112554_1 Leadership lined up

“If you think you’re a leader and no one is following you, you’re just out for a walk.” Peter Drucker.

 

I hesitated before putting finger to keyboard on the subject of leadership. A Google search shows in excess of 2 billion results on the subject. What can I possibly add to that? The answer is to only share my take on the subject, which in spite of all the papers, videos, courses and hot air is still poorly addressed and understood.

Two years ago, in those carefree pre-Covid days, I researched, wrote and presented half a dozen talks on leadership in the hope that I might in some way help to improve things in my nano-field of influence. One of the main points that I made then is that we often look at the wrong people for examples of good leadership. Certainly the procrastination and self-interest shown by politicians and business leaders does little to stimulate recommendation or inspire imitation to those owning, running and working in small businesses.

So what is it leadership? One sidestepping answer to that is, “I’m not really sure but I know it when I see it.” In his landmark book, “Good to Great” Jim Collins expected to find the leaders of successful large companies were “those with high profiles and big personalities who became celebrities”. In reality they were often “self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy individuals with a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will”.

Dentistry and other professions used to attract large numbers of the latter but I do see growing amounts of attention seekers who appear to believe that success is directly proportional to Instagram posts and can happen almost overnight. Perhaps I am becoming jaded but the retreating tide of 2020 plus the year to come will show just who has been swimming without a suit.

Another regular way of talking about leaders is to compare and contrast them with managers and, until a decade or so ago, I was as guilty of that as the rest. Then it struck me that in the field of small and micro businesses it is impossible to be a good leader without managing; and it is equally impossible to be a manager without leading. Shoving individuals into defined silos doesn’t work, we must all wear different hats to suit circumstances. There are some, but very few, absolutes, there must be overlaps in some areas.

In my experience with successful leaders in dentistry and other small businesses I have found several characteristics that they all share to a certain extent. In many these traits are not instinctive but have been learned by experience and acceptance.

  • Pragmatism. They understand the practical consequences of situations, decisions and actions. Whilst they are aware of theory and dogma they know that flexibility is needed for success.
  • Understanding. They both understand the business they are in and that they are in business. They learn from experiences and apply and share what they have learnt.
  • Empathy. They are able to see things from the point of view of others, can rationalise that and know that there are limits.
  • Delegate but don’t abdicate. Knowing where the buck stops means that they have personal systems with checks so they can ensure nobody is allowed to feel unsupported.
  • Communicators. Their team understands where they are heading, why they are doing what they are asked to do, and how they are expected to do it.
  • Gratitude. They are grateful for the opportunities they have had, the lessons that life has taught them, and the people with whom they spend their time.
  • Constant. They know the value of constancy in those areas where it is appropriate. They support their co-workers and understand the need for stability in others. When change is necessary, they take time to ensure that all grasp the why, how and when it will happen. There is only one set of principles and they apply to everybody.
  • Don’t hide. They front up when they need to, they know everyone on their team no matter how large and there is no area of the business with which they are not familiar. They have systems to ensure they are on top of everything.
  • Share (the responsibility and rewards). Things go wrong as well as right in any size of business and their attitude is that where possible it will be shown to be a system error rather than an individual blame. That way the business will evolve to reduce mistakes.
  • Generous (with their time). They know that time invested in helping and encouraging others will be reflected in a culture of both individual and team growth.

Warren Bennis wrote in, “Becoming a Leader”, “I don’t know if leadership can be taught but I know that it can be learned”. He described “The Cauldron of Leadership” as formative events, critical struggles or serious challenges that force leaders to learn, grow and think differently about themselves. The cauldron theory is fine, but can be traumatic, and you are better off paying attention to what is happening and reflecting and considering what you have learned.

If I have managed to make you think about the boxes that you tick, or not, in your leadership roles then my work is done.

To your success.

The Grinch
Fear & Loathing in Dentistry

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Comments 2

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Tony Smith on Friday, 11 December 2020 09:57
"Management is doing the things right, Leadership is doing the right things"-Peter Drucker

Another insightful post.
As a profession, many of us are aware and want to lead by example to our patients and staff. Our management or influence by the GDC, NHS, BDA, Lawyers, and corporates hinders our activity. This creates stress, which ..........

0
Another insightful post. :) As a profession, many of us are aware and want to lead by example to our patients and staff. Our management or influence by the GDC, NHS, BDA, Lawyers, and corporates hinders our activity. This creates stress, which ..........
Alun Rees on Friday, 11 December 2020 11:20
Thanks

Hi Tony
Thanks for taking the time to respond. It's always good to know that someone is reading what I write.
Kind Regards
Alun

0
Hi Tony Thanks for taking the time to respond. It's always good to know that someone is reading what I write. Kind Regards Alun

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