In the world of dentistry and healthcare, who has influence? Who lacks it? And why is it necessary to reach our fullest potential as leaders? With modern communication, it is both simple and difficult to become a person of influence. And people, especially those in a medical setting, typically have more influence than they realize, especially with patients.
For those who choose to keep to themselves, consider what would happen if we all emerged, allowed the world to see us as we truly are, grew in a leadership capacity in our workplace and personal life, and realized we can affect others, such as our patients and fellow providers, regardless of our education, position, and connections. Imagine what that could do for your practice and your patients.
Fortunately, you don’t have to just imagine. You can take action now to achieve great results. Let’s discuss the relationship between influence and leadership and the three most essential traits of a person of influence: consistency, empathy, and courage.
The Law of Influence
John Maxwell’s law of influence states that “The true measure of leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” Therefore, Our goal as aspiring leaders in healthcare should be to increase our influence on others, both in capacity and sheer number. However, we need to first understand influence itself, its definition, and what components are used to measure it before focusing on increasing our influence with others. If we do this, the end result is that we will become better leaders in our office and home environments.
The first question you need to ask yourself is “Who do I currently influence?” Perhaps it’s your patients, your staff, or your associates. As the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together. This is to say that as leaders, we don’t always attract the followers we want. Instead, we attract people who are most like us.
So, when asking yourself this question, look in the mirror. Great leaders in healthcare start by reflecting on themselves, their personality, quality of communication, and interactions, and make themselves resemble those they would choose to follow. We can’t expect to become great leaders in healthcare without reflection, self-awareness, honesty, feedback, and personal growth and development.
Once we understand the Law of Influence, we need to start by building our consistency. This applies to our work and home life and is the foundation of trust. We must be consistent in our words and actions—that is, walk the walk, provide transparency, and build reliability and trust with those around us.
This could mean we provide verbal support to our associates and pick up extra shifts to support the influx of patients. We might volunteer to work holidays to show others that we are team players. And we speak to patients as equals, provide time and support, are patient with their questions, and truly follow up like we say we will. This is essential to creating a consistent reputation.
Integrity goes hand in hand with consistency. If you say you will show up for an event, you must show up. If you promise to contact a patient about their test results, you must contact them. And when you pledge money to support a fundraiser or nonprofit, you must give it.
Empathy allows leaders to understand others’ points of view, regardless of whether or not they agree. They can also understand the root cause of poor performance or attitude. Empathy allows leaders to build and develop relationships with those they lead. This is because a real leader has perspective, can identify the needs and goals of those they are influencing, and helps those individuals come together to progress as a team.
Tanveer Naseer Leadership shares that, to accomplish empathy,
leaders need to understand the inner purpose that drives each of their employees and aligning that with their organization’s goals. This requires that leaders be more open about their ideas and thinking and asking their employees about their thoughts on it. By spending more time learning about the needs of their employees, leaders can set the tone and approach taken by their employees to achieve their organization’s goals.
Courage is the final trait of a person of influence. After all, what good is all your trust, information, and understanding if you are unable to take action on it? You must be courageous to stand in front of others and lead the way. You must show up. You must do your homework. And you must be willing to risk it all for the good of others.
A courageous leader is what every business, brand, organization, and team needs. These individuals guide creative individuals. They don’t restrict them. They lead by example and instill courage and confidence in those around them.
“Real leadership isn’t about winning a popularity contest,” says Jim Detert, author of Choosing Courage. “It’s about doing important work on behalf of others. And because there are always going to be differences of opinion and limited resources, you’re probably not going to make much progress on that important work if you can’t stand the thought of upsetting some people some of the time.”
In short, courage is being comfortable in the uncomfortable—the face of adversity. It takes vulnerability, accountability, unfiltered feedback, and real conversations. It takes courage to be right, and even more so to be wrong. Courage requires commitment.
The healthcare industry is in dire need of true people of influence—leaders in every sense of the world. Focus on the traits of consistency, empathy, and courage, and your practice and patients will thrive.