Dentists who get results

Nov. 1, 2003
Last month, we introduced the powerful concept of Emotional Intelligence (E.I.) (October Dental Economics). Research on star performers has shown that 75 percent of their success is a result of E.I., while only 25 percent is the result of the necessary technical competency.

Bob Frazer Jr., DDS, FACD, FICD

Last month, we introduced the powerful concept of Emotional Intelligence (E.I.) (October Dental Economics, page 129). Research on star performers has shown that 75 percent of their success is a result of E.I., while only 25 percent is the result of the necessary technical competency. In the 1980s, sociologist/ futurist Avrom King postulated that fine dentistry was behaviorally self-limited: regardless of the dentist's technical expertise, unless he or she had the requisite behavioral skills to communicate — including the ability to profoundly listen to patients and then motivate them — technical skills would go largely unused.

Today, I would say that fine dentistry is limited by the E.I. of the dentist and team. Every major dental purchase is an emotional decision. Effective leadership demands emotional competency, thus, E.I. is central to our success.

Daniel Goleman, in his book Working with Emotional Intelligence, states, "Emotional Intelligence is our capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, [and] for managing emotions well in ourselves and our relationships." It involves four key domains with a subset of 18 emotional competencies in two categories: personal and social. The four domains are self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, and relationship management (Primal Leadership, D. Goleman et al). As you read the following list of E. I. competencies, think of the myriad ways these affect success in practice — from the dentist's self-image and confidence, to his presence as both a leader and trustworthy authority who can be fully present with his staff and patients who are dependent on one or more of these competencies.

Personal competence — These capabilities determine how we manage ourselves.

1) Self-awareness:

• Emotional self-awareness — Reading your own emotions and recognizing its impact, using "gut sense" to guide decisions
• Accurate self-assessment — Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses
• Self-confidence — A sound sense of your capabilities

2) Self-management:

• Emotional self-control — Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses under control
• Transparency — Displaying honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness
• Adaptability — Flexibility adapting to changing situations, and overcoming obstacles
• Achievement — The drive to improve performance to meet inner standards of excellence
• Initiative — Readiness to act and seize opportunities
• Optimism — Seeing the upside of events

Social competence — These competencies determine how we manage relationships.

3) Social-awareness:

• Empathy — Sensing other's emotions, understanding their perspective and taking active interest in their concerns
• Organizational awareness — Reading the currents, decision networks, and politics at the organizational level
• Service — Recognizing and meeting follower, client/patient, or customer needs

4) Relationship management:

• Inspirational leadership — Guiding and motivating with a compelling vision
• Influence — Wielding a range of tactics for persuasion
• Developing others — Bolstering other's abilities through feedback and guidance
• Change catalyst — Initiating, managing, and leading in a new direction
• Building bonds — Cultivating and managing a web of relationships
• Teamwork and collaboration — Cooperation and team-building

Research has shown that high achievers do not show strength in every sub-competency; however, they typically are strong in at least six which fall into each of the four domains. Emotional quotient (EQ) can be grown. All E.I. competencies can be developed, and EQ increases with age and life experience for most people. Where are you strong and where do you need to develop E.I. competency?

How might we grow Emotional Self-awareness? First, how many emotions can you name? How long is your list? Ask a member of the opposite sex to do the same and then explore the two lists. You may be surprised!

Next month, we will explore E.I. and leadership with a look into the neurobiology and my own emotional incontinence in a chapter called "Primal Competence."

Dr. Bob Frazer Jr. is founder of the strategic leadership firm R.L. Frazer & Assoc., whose custom programs help dentists achieve top 5 percent status in both financial achievement and life balance (fulfillment and significance). Superb communication skills have propelled Dr. Frazer to a 27-year international speaking career in dentistry. To receive "7 Ways To Grow Your EQ," contact him at (512) 346-0455, fax (512) 346-1071, or email [email protected].

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