Becoming a practice leader as an office manager or any other dental team member is an admirable goal. As an experienced member of the dental team, you have great ideas and goals that can help the dental practice prosper financially and professionally. And you’re motivated by becoming a leader in order to implement these ideas.
But how can you become a practice leader at your dental office? What are the traits of a dental practice leader, and what can you do to emulate this position?
Dental ClaimSupport is a trusted dental billing partner that has spent over 10 years helping dental teams achieve financial success through the implementation of a worry-free claims process. This also helps teams achieve professional success because they finally have time in their day to work on bettering the dental practice.
In this article, we will share 5 tips on becoming a practice leader at your dental office. Leadership is earned through action. These tips for becoming a leader can help you become more confident, and organized, and help you make better decisions. All of these are crucial qualities to becoming a leader at your dental practice.
1. Take initiative when it comes to new ideas and dental process improvements
You have ideas for your dental office. You know there are more efficient processes for your billing, your scheduling, check-in, and the way you acquire new patients. And you know there are newer technologies that can help the processes run smoother.
Take the initiative and try to implement these processes where you can. Obviously don’t bulldoze your team with a million changes that you expect them to agree with and start using that day. But you bring up your new ideas with your dental team and dentist and explain how they would make a process easier.
For example, let’s say your team currently splits the insurance billing work. Whoever has extra time in their day handles creating, batching, and submitting dental insurance claims as well as working the insurance aging report and posting payments. Because this workload is so much, you’re hard-pressed to have one team member who can dedicate their entire day to this work, so you split it up.
But you’ve been hearing about outsourced dental billing services that can handle this work for your team remotely. It’s an increasingly popular option used by dental teams and you want to introduce the idea to yours so that your processes can be more streamlined.
So, take the initiative and do some research on outsourcing dental billing services and bring the idea to your team.
2. Make decisions based on facts and data that can back you up
Speaking of research - when you make any kind of decision, do so with facts and data in mind.
If you see that your scheduling process needs an update, and you would like to rework the standard operating procedure for it, gather the facts proving the need for a change. You can present this to your team, showing the need for an update. It’s hard to argue with logic!
Let's say you have a large number of unpaid claims building your insurance aging report every day. After some research on best practices, you see that the recommended strategy for working the insurance aging report is:
Work through the insurance aging report once a week, minimum
Start from the oldest insurance claims to the newest
Group the insurance claims by the insurance company so that you can get them all paid on one phone call with that insurance company
So, you share these best practices with your team and the data behind why this is the most efficient way to handle your insurance aging report. And do the work to figure out how much more money your practice could make if the insurance aging report was worked through this way.
This also shows your team that you’re doing everything in the interest of efficiency and productivity. And sometimes that even means making everyone’s jobs easier. This type of decision-making will help your dental team see you as a leader because you have not only the dental practice in mind but also your team.
3. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks in the dental practice
With great power comes great responsibility! Even if you haven’t been technically promoted to a leadership position, a great way to display leadership is to know how to wisely delegate.
This means instead of taking on as much work as possible, you know how to divide it up among your team members in a way that makes sense and provides the best results.
It’s tempting to want to prove yourself as a leader by taking on as much responsibility as possible. But this doesn’t always yield the best results and isn’t very sustainable. Burnout can happen quicker this way, and if you’re looking to be a leader, you need to consistently be on your best game!
So, work smarter. If you are looking to dedicate more time to getting new dental patients, but insurance verification for upcoming appointments needs to be completed, hand off insurance verification to another team member. This way you can focus on your strategy for getting new patients and scheduling treatment.
4. Be open to change and evolving the dental practice
To be seen as a leader, you need to be open-minded. This means when your team has their own suggestions about how to improve the dental practice, you listen!
A good leader always takes advice and ideas from others. So if your team comes up with an idea for something at your dental practice, figure out if and how it can be implemented.
The dental industry is constantly updating and changing, especially in regards to dental insurance. As a result, dental teams must evolve as well. Keeping up with these changes will be your responsibility as a leader. These changes may include insurance (that you’re in-network with) policy changes, annual CDT coding changes, any kind of industry news, clinical technology updates, and more.
It’s easy to get stuck or complacent, especially if you’ve been at the same practice for several years. But continuous updates can help your dental practice stay modern and efficient, leading to better dental patient care.
5. Listen to feedback from the dental team
Being a leader means you’re going to get feedback from your dental team, and it should be welcomed! Even if you’re not technically a practice leader yet, asking for regular feedback from your dental team is a great display of leadership.
It shows that you care what your peers think and want to maintain a healthy working environment that works for everyone. It also means you’re open to constructive criticism that can help you be better. There’s always room for improvement, for everyone! Even practice leaders.
And if your team feels like they can have open communication with you about your position, they will trust you more to lead the dental practice to success.
Do you need more time in your day to become a leader at your dental practice?
Becoming a practice leader can mean a lot of things. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a new title, it means you have the trust of your dentist and/or business owner to lead your team to financial and professional success. Making informed decisions, delegating, being open-minded, and receiving feedback are all ways to achieve this.
Dental ClaimSupport is a friend of dental teams looking to evolve and streamline their billing processes in order to find financial success. When your billing is handled, you’re fully equipped to lead your practice and team.
If you’re hoping to become a leader at your practice, but find that you don’t have enough time in your day to do so, look into outsourcing your dental billing. You can focus on leading your team while the outsourced biller get your fast insurance income. Learn more by reading our Ultimate Guide to Outsourcing Your Dental Billing.