Dr. David Rice on Leadership: Creating Certainty in Uncertain Times

Close your eyes for a second and picture a leader. Who do you see? A decisive, extroverted, type A?

The myths of who and what constitute a great leader are so powerful that many in dentistry simply steer clear of leadership all together. The result, unfortunately, is what so many experienced in 2020: A 20-30% drop in production and team turmoil.

The truth is, the difference between a staff and a highly productive team, is your ability to lead and your ability to create certainty in uncertain times.

So, throw away the notions that…

  • Position determines leadership
  • Management equals leadership
  • Leadership isn’t learnable
  • Leadership isn’t a team sport
  • Leaders need to be outgoing type A’s
Great leaders know they need to make their teams feel safe. Dr. Rice explains why.

Embrace the truth that leaders…

  • Create a feeling of safety for the entire team
  • Make people feel valued
  • Are tremendous listeners
  • Don’t always have the answers; they do seemingly have the right questions
  • Some of the greatest leaders in any profession are soft-spoken thinkers
Dr. Rice explains why scheduling time for one-on-one conversations is so important.

And study what despite differences in styles may be, all great leaders rely on…

  • Habits that support a clear practice path
  • Habits that generate positive energy in the practice every day
  • Habits that create urgency
  • Habits that continually increase practice growth
  • Habits of influence for the team, patients and community at large

And most of all, habits of courage. Being a dentist, hygienist, assistant or admin leader isn’t always easy. There will always be moments of truth. Moments we need to overcome the urge to keep peace and to muster up the courage to do what we know will bring progress. Moments that rely on each habit listed above.

When we have a clear practice path, we know how to win. It’s easier to bring energy as we celebrate each step toward that win. Urgency becomes our mindset as we crave our next victory. Practice production skyrockets, pandemic or not. Influence is our new reality as our teams, patients, and communities have experienced the certainty we bring. And full circle, our competence in every area, further drive our confidence.

Close your eyes for a second and picture a leader. Cheers to this year…seeing you as that leader.

About the author

David R. Rice, DDS, is the founder of the nation’s largest student and new dentist community, igniteDDS. Dr. Rice travels the world speaking and connecting today’s top young dentists with tomorrow’s most successful dental practices. In addition to igniteDDS, Dr. Rice maintains a team-centered restorative and implant practice in East Amherst, N.Y.

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