Dental Office Excellence

Eight principles of strong dental practice leadership

March 10, 2014
Follow these eight ideas for a more successful practice

As a Rhodes scholar, Hall of Fame basketball player, U.S. Senator, and corporate director, Bill Bradley understands leadership from many perspectives. He defines it as “unlocking people's potential to become better.” This should be foremost in the minds of dentists who want to become better leaders.

3 leadership lessons for every dentist

Levin Group advises its clients to follow these eight basic principles:

  1. Create and share a vision statement — Having a vision of where you want the practice to be in three to five years will help you get there. Putting it in writing and sharing it regularly with team members will help even more.
  2. Establish a comprehensive, ongoing team training program — As practice leader, you must make sure that everyone on the team has the skills they need. Use a combination of one-to-one “shadowing” to train or cross-train staff members, and role-play with scripts, onsite and offsite training days, and CE courses.
  3. Delegate as many responsibilities as possible — Letting go is essential, for two reasons. First, you need to free your time for income-producing dentistry. Second, team members will respond positively, as long as you provide the needed training and systems.
  4. Motivate the team — Each dentist must find his or her own way to inspire team members to excel. Many styles work, especially motivational tools such as the practice vision statement and performance targets.
  5. Demand excellence — Thriving in the new dental economy depends on setting your practice apart from others by excelling in all aspects of patient care and customer service.
  6. Never stop learning — Whether in books and articles, seminars and courses, or professional and business groups, there are many opportunities for learning leadership skills. Take advantage of them.
  7. Make decisions quickly — After delegating all lower-level decision-making, focus on the decisions that will have an appreciable impact on the success of the practice. If you have the skills, get the facts and commit to a decision quickly. If need be, call in outside experts for advice.
  8. Lead by example — Pay close attention to staff reactions to what you say or do, how you treat others, and how you react to events. You will soon realize that you have a great impact on total team performance, for better or worse.

Start with these principles of good leadership and you will be well on your way to becoming a more effective practice leader.

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To learn how to run a more profitable, efficient, and satisfying practice, visit the Levin Group Resource Center at, a free online resource with tips, videos and other valuable information. You can also connect with Levin Group on Facebook and Twitter (Levin_Group) to learn strategies and share idea