Contagious leadership

June 1, 2004
Research has shown the leader exerts the most powerful influence on the emotional climate of a group. A random study of 3,871 leaders by the firm of Hey-McBer takes much of the mystery out of effective leadership.

Bob Frazer Jr., DDS

Research has shown the leader exerts the most powerful influence on the emotional climate of a group. A random study of 3,871 leaders by the firm of Hey-McBer takes much of the mystery out of effective leadership. Six leadership styles were identified; each sprang from components of emotional intelligence. The study revealed that effective leaders use an array of different leadership styles in the right amount at exactly the right time to positively affect both performance and climate.

Although this research focused on business leaders, these six styles are very relevant to us as dentists/leaders. They apply not only to the obvious area of staff leadership, but also in leading our patients to effective treatment choices. To become an exceptional leader, study these styles and incorporate them into your practice. Too often, we rely on one primary style, usually with a second fall back style. Research shows that such leaders do not achieve excellent results. In order to access these styles, we must develop the underlying emotional competencies. These six leadership styles and their underlying emotional competencies are:

Visionary — Mobilize people toward a vision: "Come with me!" The underlying Emotional Intelligence competencies are self-confidence, empathy, and change catalyst. This style builds resonance (positive emotions) by moving people toward a shared vision. It's appropriate when changes require a new vision, or when clear direction is needed. Visionary leaders have the strongest positive impact on climate.

Coaching — Develops people for the future: "Try this." The underlying E.I. competencies are developing others, empathy, service, and self-awareness. Coaching builds resonance by connecting what a person wants to the practice's goals. It helps an employee improve performance, release potential, and develop long-term strengths. Its overall impact on climate is positive.

Affiliative — Creates harmony and builds emotional bonds: "People come first." Its underlying E.I. competencies are empathy, building bonds, teamwork, and collaboration. Resonance occurs through creating harmony by connecting people. Particularly appropriate to heal rifts or to motivate people during stressful times. Overall impact on climate is positive.

Democratic — Forges consensus through participation: "What do you think?" The underlying E.I. competencies are teamwork, collaboration, service, and communication. It builds resonance by valuing input and gaining commitment through participation. Appropriate to build buy-in or consensus, or to get input from valued others. Its impact on climate is positive

Pacesetting — Sets high standards for performance: "Do as I do, now!" The E.I. competencies are conscientiousness, achievement, and initiative. It can build resonance by meeting challenging and exciting goals. Appropriate to get high-quality results from a motivated, competent team. Overall impact on climate: Often very negative because of poor execution and overuse.

Commanding — Demands immediate compliance: "Do what I tell you, now!" E.I. competencies are achievement, initiative, and self-confidence. Builds resonance by soothing fears and giving clear directions in an emergency. It's appropriate in a crisis, to kick-start a turnaround, or to deal with problem employees. Because it is so often misused, it has a highly negative overall impact on climate.

Like the various clubs in a golf bag, each style is appropriate to different situations. The excellent golfer, like the excellent leader, can hit a shot with every club in the bag. Review each style and ask yourself, which are most comfortable for me? Think of the various leadership opportunities that occur each week or month. What percent of the time are you visionary? Coaching? Democratic, etc? Which are more difficult? Are there styles you need to develop?

To effective lead patients, begin with an affiliative, connecting style, then move to a democratic, discovery style. At some point, a visionary style helps our patients imagine what treatment outcomes are possible. These can be coupled with coaching to help elevate oral health practices. Even a pacesetting style has its place when focused on excellence of care.

Dr. Bob Frazer, Jr., FACD, FICD, is founder of R.L. Frazer & Assoc., whose custom programs help dentists achieve top 5 percent status in financial achievement & life balance (fulfillment and significance). Thirty years of quality practice and superb communication skills have propelled him to a 28-year international speaking career. He is co-founder of RMR (18th edition — June 29 to July 3, '04), a multi-speaker, family summer E.Q. Building Conference. This year's theme is "Healing the Healer." For information on this or other programs, or to receive "7 Ways to Grow Your E.Q." contact him at (512) 346-0455, fax (512) 346-1071, [email protected]. Web site

Sponsored Recommendations

Clinical Study: OraCare Reduced Probing Depths 4450% Better than Brushing Alone

Good oral hygiene is essential to preserving gum health. In this study the improvements seen were statistically superior at reducing pocket depth than brushing alone (control ...

Clincial Study: OraCare Proven to Improve Gingival Health by 604% in just a 6 Week Period

A new clinical study reveals how OraCare showed improvement in the whole mouth as bleeding, plaque reduction, interproximal sites, and probing depths were all evaluated. All areas...

Chlorine Dioxide Efficacy Against Pathogens and How it Compares to Chlorhexidine

Explore our library of studies to learn about the historical application of chlorine dioxide, efficacy against pathogens, how it compares to chlorhexidine and more.

Enhancing Your Practice Growth with Chairside Milling

When practice growth and predictability matter...Get more output with less input discover chairside milling.