This week on Winning In Business, Angus Pryor Number one Google-ranked dental marketer in Australia and Practice Growth Specialist will be sharing with you the second part of an interview with Dr Jesse Green, the overlooked skill in dentistry.
Angus Pryor: What, you know, in a sense, Jessie, I’m asking you to distill years and years of knowledge into a nice bite-sized packageDr.
Dr Jesse Green: Nice bite size
Angus Pryor: Leading teams, where is the area that you see that dentists struggle with most? And what should they do?
Dr Jesse Green: I think it’s there’s a few areas, I guess the first one, I’d say is communication. I think a large part of leadership is the ability to communicate effectively. And so learning some communication skills. You know, dentistry is very much a people business, we talk about the clinical side of things, and that’s obviously important, but everything else around that is people.
And so I think being able to interact, interact and relate to people is going to be really key. So having some frameworks for communication, knowing how to approach different circumstances, being a good listener, is obviously a key component of being a good communicator. So I think, if I was going to save the one thing, if there was only one thing, of course, there is more than one thing, but the first thing would be learn to listen and learn to communicate.
And there’s a wonderful book that I hope it’s okay if I reference that it’s a teeny tiny book, even smaller than the one you mentioned is called skill with people by Liz Gibbon. And I was given that book many years ago when I was in a different business. And I think it’s a really, really valuable book. I think it’s just very concise and to the point. The other element of leadership that I think that is potentially struggle with is creating clarity around expectations.
My experience with most people going to work is most people go to work wanting to do a good job believing they do a good job. And it comes as a rude shock. Oftentimes, if they’re told they’re not doing a good job. And so somewhere, there’s this gap between, you know, where the expectations of the owner of the business are. And what you know, the team member believes is what’s required of them. So I think we’ve got to be able to close that expectation gap.
So clarity around expectations, I think is the other gap that would you know if we could close that, and couple that with some communication skills, I think that would go a long way to improving people’s leadership.
Angus Pryor: And I think there’s some things about the inherent nature of dentistry that don’t lead itself to that. I mean, we’ve talked about the fact that there’s just not part of dentists training. The reality is now you’re a dentist, Jesse, you know, for you to get into dentistry. And I’ve just finished reading your book, which was terrific, everyone, by the way. Yes, we will mention that, you know, I think I think about this, I mean, you know, the dentists that I knew, frankly, I had to study their butt off at school just to get into dentistry, and then I got a study hard to pass dentistry and then they go and learn the ropes working for somebody else.
And you know, less so now but in years gone by the, what they call this in psychology, power difference, you know, and and if ever, there was a place where there was a power difference in the healthcare professions, you know, where it’s like, is this sort of a stain expert up here, and here are the lowly team members. And that’s tricky, because Australians don’t have a very good appetite for that.
Now, I’ve actually done International Studies in Australia’s got the lowest tolerance or power difference of any country on the planet. If you’re, if you’re being a dentist in, you know, Japan, or China or something like awesome, you know, because they’d be very comfortable in that gap in Australia. We’re not, it’s like, Prime Minister he’s the same as me.
Anyway, I guess the point is that you’re in this environment where at least Historically, the dentist has been, you know, sort of the bee’s knees and, and, and fairly directive environment too often, you know, that kind of stereotypically, you know, scalpel, you know, that that sort of thing. That can be tricky. And yet this is so critical for the modern dentist to be to be winning in 2021.
Dr Jesse Green: Yeah, look, I think you’re absolutely right. I think that power gap that you refer to, yeah, lends itself to traditional hierarchical leadership as well, I’ve got a military background. And so when I graduated from uni, I had a scholarship that you need to go into the Navy, and it was great. But it’s a very, very hierarchical structure, whoever has the most drops on the shoulder basically says, what happens?
Yeah, I might be wrong, but that’s what happens. And so I think you’re absolutely right, I do think Australians have a resistance to that hierarchy, or being expected to defer to authority in some way that doesn’t feel right for them. So I think when it comes to leadership, it’s about developing other leaders.
And, you know, one of the approaches that I like to adopt is to really hand make the decision maker, the person who has that knowledge. So in essence, you know, if someone on the team is more expert in an area, then let them make that decision. Obviously, the owner of the business, the responsibility and the buck stops with me, but I think one of the things that dentists typically are comfortable with is a command and control type of leadership style, you know, do this do that you’re very Russell Crowe, you know, mastering commando, you know, like, off we go.
But I think a more appropriate way of doing that, really, if we want to kind of close that power gap and have a flatter organisational structure is going to be really about helping those people on your team level up. And you know, that means not just teaching them what to do, but it’s about helping them learn how you think so they can make decisions that you would make on their own. So when they come to you to ask you a question, rather than saying, Yeah, do this or do that or whatever it is, you might respond by giving them a question.
So what else could we do? or what have you thought about? What do you think the best thing is to do? You know, what, what do you think I might be worried about if we approach that situation that way. So resisting the urge to be quick and easy and tell someone what to do. But really rather investing the time in trying to coach them and mentor them and train them so that I can learn to understand and think more like an owner and hopefully make better decisions that are going to drive the business forward in that way. So I think that will help close that power gap a bit.