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When it comes to leading leaders, use your BICEPS

Feb. 16, 2023
Being a leader is demanding, but even more so when you're tasked with leading other leaders in the dental office. The BICEPS Rules of Leadership are a handy tool to remember the basics.

No matter your position in your practice, you are a leader to your team and your patients. As a leader, you sometimes have the hard job of leading other leaders and ultimately molding them into who they will be. Your needs don’t always come first; you take bullets for your team, you make every tough situation into a positive one, and you make the sun shine even on a rainy day. You want to make sure that you are being a positive and profound leader, not a poor one. Someone who strives for greatness and is always present for their team, no matter the circumstance.

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We have all heard the saying about teaching a man to fish so he can eat for a lifetime—as leaders we need to teach other leaders in the practice to flex their muscles a bit. By allowing others to flex their muscles, they will eventually gain the muscle memory to do things on their own, make their own decisions, and ultimately become good leaders to those around them.

Like all muscles, leaders gain strength through experience, learning that they can push past any discomfort and grow stronger. Never forget the BICEPS Rule of Leading Leaders, and let them flex their muscles!


When learning new things and before challenging situations, it’s good to bounce ideas off each other. Brainstorm scenarios with your leaders, and talk about the different ways a situation can go so they are not stumbling and nervous in the moment. Listen to their thought processes and help guide them in the direction you want them to go. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone thinks the same way! As a leader, you need to help others understand the business as much as you do so that even if you are not present, they can troubleshoot and make decisions on their own that are in alignment with your practice goals and values.


Integrity is more than just doing what you say you will do. It’s rolling up your sleeves, being on the front line with your leaders, and leading by example. It’s being positive even in the face of adversity; it’s empathizing with them and their needs; it’s about being human. Integrity is standing up for something that you know is right or wrong; it’s about being able to shift mindsets and show others something is possible (even when sometimes you’re not sure if it is). Being honest, even when the news you are delivering may not be the best, makes things easier to swallow because you’re in it together. It’s not “them” doing the work, it’s “us” doing it together.


As a leader, you know that you’re often the last to get acknowledged for achieving a goal. When leading leaders, you want to remember to celebrate the wins! Take them to lunch when they conquer their long-outstanding insurance list, and bring them flowers when they are doing a great job training a new team member. Show appreciation and take care of them because then they will show appreciation and care for their team and patients. Celebrating with them creates a team culture of positivity, fun, and admiration.


There are times in life when we all need a little boost of encouragement, a “You’ve got this!” As a leader, you know that they can do it, but they may not have the confidence in themselves to have that difficult conversation. After brainstorming, offer some words of support and show them that you know they can do it!


Praise is a very powerful thing. Expressing your approval and admiration for a job well done can last a lifetime. A person may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel. Show gratitude for their hard work, dedication, and accomplishments. Showing praise towards someone also shows that you respect them, so make sure you take the time to do it even on the busiest of days.


Things do not always go as planned, and that’s OK. When they don’t, show support and not disdain. We’ve all had moments that we wish we could do over, and your leaders will have the same. By showing support and guidance you are showing them it’s OK to make mistakes, and it’s OK if things go wrong because together we can fix anything and learn from everything. If you show disdain, they’ll go silent instead of coming to you when there are challenges. It’s important that your leaders come to you even on the darkest of days, so lend a helping hand and give a pat on the back—these things often go a long way.

Leading leaders can be challenging at times, but it’s the most rewarding thing that you can do. Empowering others to be the best version of themselves and watching their success leaves you feeling accomplished as well.

As a leader, if you are not receiving one of the BICEPS elements from your leader(s), do not be afraid to have an honest conversation and let them know what you need to be successful. Life’s too short to have weak muscles!