Developing stronger leadership skills is important for essentially every practice owner. But becoming a better leader doesn’t always require attending a pricey seminar. Sometimes, simple ways of changing your behaviour can have an immediate impact.
Becoming a better leader is often about letting other people in to have a better understanding of how to move forward. The more you need to say, the more you need to listen.
Every day, spend at least 15 minutes with someone who has something to say about a challenge or opportunity your practice is facing. It might be an employee or a contractor. But the way to really listen is to bring up the subject and then listen to the response without preconceived ideas. Leaders often talk too much and don’t truly listen to the people around them, even though they often have valuable insights. Pay each person the same level of attention just as you would to your consultant or a high profile industry expert. This doesn’t mean you automatically have to follow the advice, but this exercise can help you get out your old thinking patterns.
Instead of asking too many questions, which can be intimidating to others and make them less forthcoming, you can simply ask them to tell you more about the particular topic. This lets you’re the other person continue in his or her line of thinking without feeling cross-examined.
Great entrepreneurs are often successful because of their belief in their vision and ideals. But allow some room for doubt and ask yourself “What if I’m wrong?” That’s not to say you should become doubt-filled or ineffective. This is simply another exercise that helps you think in new ways and perhaps find opportunities that wouldn’t be apparent if you simply charged ahead in one direction. Question yourself about the patients you serve – what would the possibilities be if you took a different service approach? What if you’re wrong about embracing new technology in the way you market your practice?
And you will be pleased to hear that it is a definite yes to go to lunch sometime, or grab some coffee, dinner or breakfast at least once a week with someone you admire. You become like the people you spend most of your time with – so find some good company. Even when it feels like you don’t have time, you can always make time to have coffee or even a phone conversation with someone who has traits or experience from which you can learn. Whether it’s a mentor, a colleague who always offers great insight, or someone who just seems to have it all figured out, the more time you spend with people you admire, the more they can inspire you.