Leadership in dental teams
Welcome


In this section we relate developments in the field of leadership to dental practice. Our emphasis is on the main approaches to leadership, excluding those that may be more applicable to larger organisations. There are many more approaches to leadership in the literature and the field is constantly developing.

Aims:
• To make the dental team aware of some of the different approaches to leadership
• To assist dental teams in understanding the practical implications of leadership
• To facilitate an appreciation of the role of good leadership in the dental team
Objectives:
• After participating in this section you will be:
• Aware of the role of leadership in dental practice management
• Aware of some of the different approaches to leadership
• Aware of the benefits to dental practice of certain leadership styles

This section of dentaljuce has been prepared by Paul Kelly and Danielle Wootton.

Paul KellyPaul Kelly. BDS. PhD. DPDS.
Paul is a General Dental Practitioner from Dorset. He has recently been awarded a PhD in dental service innovation at the University of Birmingham, having successfully attained his qualifying MPhil in 2010. He has a keen interest in leadership and innovation, particularly with regard to dentistry. He is a previous president President of the Wessex Branch of the BDA and is also an elected member to the BDA Representative Body, and to the GDPC. Paul is also nationally leading a programme for the ethical sourcing of dental materials, and he was the lead author for a paper on this published in the BDJ. 

Danielle Wootton MCIPD. LLB(Hons). MA. PGCE. 
Danielle has vast experience in lecturing in the areas of business, management, strategy and Human Resource Management, including at postgraduate level. She has a particular interest in, and experience of teaching, employment law and leadership. Danielle has also taught leadership at the University of Southampton. She also works with Exeter University and the University of Birmingham in assisting them in developing and delivering their courses. She is currently working towards a PhD at the University of Birmingham in the areas of strategy and regulation. She is a member of the University of Birmingham's Talent Pool and has a keen interest in innovation. She has had work published in the European Journal of Industrial Training on innovation in postgraduate training methods. She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. 

Email:
[email protected] 


Defining leadership

Clip artLeadership has been defined as the ability to influence people to do things which they would otherwise not have done. However, varied approaches to leadership have resulted in there being no single definition or concept of leadership that satisfies all of these approaches.

Most people have been a leader at some point in their lives. Although the role of leadership is important in appointed or elected positions, leadership and leadership skills are applicable to the whole dental team. It is claimed that leadership is most important in times of change or uncertainty.

Reflection: Can you list occasions in your life (inside and outside work) when you have been a leader?
 




An early approach to leadership was to view leaders and potential leaders as having specific "traits" such as being extrovert, decisive and able to take risks. Later research suggested that this was not a reliable approach. In addition, it does not take into account different behaviour in different circumstances, and nor does it take into account the advantages of different behaviour traits in different circumstances. 

Autocratic or Participative?

Traditional approaches to leadership have been hierarchical (top-down). Although this is important in certain circumstances, particularly in regulatory or bureaucratic organisation, it is arguable that reliance on this approach may restrict the range of opportunities open to the development of the dental practice. Some describe this leadership style as autocratic, whereas many of the other models are described as participative

Reflection: If you are a practice manager or owner, would you describe your style as autocratic or participative?
If not, how would you describe your boss?
 

.
Clip artAs concepts of leadership are varied it calls into question the basis on which modern leadership training or assessment is to be based. Fortunately, there is a body of academic research on this subject and it is possible to discern which models appear to have fallen by the wayside, which still appear to have at least some validity, and those newer models that may further clarify our understanding.

In the next few dentaljuce pages we will look at some of the more modern concepts of leadership.


Next Page Next: Leadership in dental teams. Distributed leadership

 

 



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