5 min read3 Questions to Help You Evaluate Yourself as a Leader

Mindy Schoeneman

Is leading wearing you out?

Are you a practice owner? Being a leader is complicated, isn’t it? You’re not the only one to struggle with running your business and business systems while also leading your team and keeping your practice (and yourself) healthy. 

So how do you handle the day-to-day and keep your practice moving in the right direction? Much of your success is dependent on your willingness to examine yourself, your leadership, and how it’s influencing your practice. Your ability to step back and take stock of where you are in regards to where you want to be is paramount to your practice’s continued growth.

In this article, we have three questions that will help you do just that. 

1. Are you running your practice, or is your practice running you?

Before you answer that question, consider whether you’re a proactive or reactive leader. A leader who is proactively running their business looks like this:

  • She is planning ahead for likely scenarios and putting a system in place to prevent negative outcomes and encourage positive outcomes. 
  • He has a clear vision of the future of your practice and a roadmap for getting there.
  • They are moving confidently forward.

However, a leader who is reactive looks like this:

  • You often feel like things are happening to you and you have to react quickly.
  • When something pops up, you’re not sure what to do or who to talk to about the situation.
  • You feel surrounded by chaos as you juggle so many things, and the smallest thing can bring everything crashing down.

Every leader in a practice or business will have their moments when they are a reactive leader. It’s the nature of life to expect the unexpected. But those moments where you don’t have a plan or a system in place to fall back on should be rare, not the prevailing circumstance.

To be a proactive leader means to implement systems and processes that streamline the day-to-day activity in your practice. If you don’t have those systems, then you’ll end up working twice as hard to keep everything running. You’ll also find yourself isolated because there’s no way you can delegate any of that chaotic, reactive responsibility to your team.

As a proactive leader, your systems and processes make it easier for everyone on your team to work together effectively and efficiently.

2. Are you empowering your team to lead?

Here at Jameson, we’re big believers in developing your team members to be leaders in their own roles in the practice. A leader who is empowering their team looks like someone who is:

  • Letting go of the tasks that someone else can do
  • Delegating those tasks to others with guidance and minimal oversight
  • Giving team members the opportunity to invest in the practice’s vision by owning their roles
  • Providing positive feedback regularly to team members

To develop your team members as leaders, you have to be willing to let go of some of the responsibility. But you can’t dump something in a team member’s lap without some guidance and oversight. We all like to know we’re excelling at what we do; that starts by receiving the proper tools of training and getting feedback to know if we’re utilizing those tools correctly.

A leader who is empowering their team will discover:

  • Team members will come to you and let you know that they’d like to implement something new and then explain their idea to you.
  • They take the initiative and perform tasks you didn’t have to tell them to do.
  • Your team members are staying with your practice, they show up on time, and they seem to be happy to be there.

3. Are you making all the decisions?

A leader who hasn’t empowered their team to lead will also most likely say yes to this one.

As the practice owner, whether the practice thrives or dies is ultimately your responsibility. However, if you’re the sole team member making decisions on a daily basis, you are sure to be exhausted! There are so many big decisions you should be making, but those little ones? Most of your team is capable of making minor decisions to keep the practice running efficiently.

So talk to your team. Discuss what decisions they can make on their own and at what level. Train your team to work within the systems and processes you’ve developed. If you keep getting the same questions over and over, it’s time to turn the tables and ask the inquirer what they would do. It’s something that is so simple that will help your team make decisions independently which will benefit the whole practice.

Evaluating yourself as a leader may not come naturally.

Effective self-evaluation takes practice and a willingness to be proven incorrect in your assumptions and approach. You have to be prepared to learn that you have new skills to master.

It also takes objectivity, and it’s hard to be objective when you are living and breathing every moment in your role as the practice owner. If you’re feeling like your life is consumed by your practice, the ideal solution is to take a break from the practice until you have the answers you need. But that isn’t a practical solution. So do the best you can, and consider an outside perspective on the overall performance of your practice.

We all have blind spots. The Jameson advisors are an invaluable tool you can use to help you evaluate your practice and identify areas where there is room for improvement. An outside perspective can open your eyes to the things you’re doing right and the things that you and your team might not be seeing. More than that, you’ll have a sounding board with decades of experience in the dental industry.

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