Six Keys to Cohesive Leadership

Dental practices are similar to other businesses in corporate America:  They’re made up of a team of people working towards a common goal.  Much like other businesses, every practice has a leadership team.  The size of that team can vary drastically depending on the size of your practice.  Whether your leadership team is made up of one person or ten, the same holds true:  Most leadership teams are so focused on the pressures of “doing” that they rarely reflect on or take time to focus on their way of “being” together. This is a huge mistake.

Our way of being significantly influences the quality and efficiency of our doing. Enlightened CEOs know this.  They spend just as much time “being” with their leadership team as they do “doing”.  So how do we incorporate that into our dental practices?

The leadership team of a practice is a cultural slice of the whole practice.  If you don’t have internal cohesion in the leadership team you will not have internal cohesion in the entire practice.  Here are six keys to achieving that all-important cohesion:

1.  Lead by example.  This might seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked by leaders.  Don’t tell people how you want them to operate on your team, model it!

2.  Communicate openly.  Transparency among the leadership team is important, and the ability to talk about everything from a place of common good is key… even the tough stuff.

3.  Get to know one another.  Spend time learning about one another outside of your professional roles.  What are the passions, goals, hobbies, etc. of everyone on the leadership team?  How do they spend their down time?  Knowing the whole person helps you connect on a much deeper level as leaders.

4.  Hold one another accountable without blame.  Accountability is the key to success and a powerful tool in staying on track.  Leave blame out of it and concentrate on the goals and desired outcomes.   Give one another permission to make this happen.

5.  Promote team.  Use team focused language when you address the leadership group.   There’s power in each and every person knowing they’re a valuable part of the team and that you operate as a cohesive team.

6.  Trust one another.   Micromanaging is the death of many a great team.  If everyone is clear on their roles, the goals and the expectations step back and let people do their job.  There’s rarely anything that happens that can’t be fixed or addressed later.  Greatness comes from getting your hands dirty and learning from mistakes, not from being perfect.

“When people honor each other, there is a trust established that leads to synergy, interdependence, and deep respect. Both parties make decisions and choices based on what is right, what is best, what is valued most highly.”  – Blaine Lee

As you think about your dental team, do those keys describe your current leadership culture? If not, it is time to rethink the way your leadership team operates and works together.  What will you do to create a more cohesive leadership team?

By: Mindy Altermatt, FAADOM

Mindy Altermatt, FAADOM is a professional coach, speaker, and leadership champion to dental leaders.  She’s a veteran of the dental industry with experience in insurance processing on all levels, practice management, and team development.  During her years as a practice administrator she achieved fellowship distinction with the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM), and in 2007 was named their Office Manager of the Year.  Connect with Mindy on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, & Google+.  Contact her at or visit her on the web at