Dos and don'ts for practice leadership: Are you acting like a manager rather than a leader?

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In my experience -- in interactions with dentists at my practice-building seminars, as well as in my capacity as head of the country's leading dental consulting firm -- dentists often behave more like managers than business leaders. This is understandable, considering the fact that very few dentists have gone to business school. However, if you want to pave the way to true practice success, you must delegate day-to-day office management to your staff -- reserving your time for production and strategic decision-making.


Distribute administrative responsibilities. Running a dental office requires that a substantial amount of nonclinical work be done every day. But that doesn't mean you should do it. If you have an office manager, give her the authority to run the business on your behalf. You sign off on how things will be done, what scripts will be followed, and the set of performance targets to be met. Aside from monitoring those key indicators, you can then spend most of your time practicing dentistry.


Don't hover over office staff -- check the numbers. To satisfy your natural tendency to see how things are going around the office, monitor how actual performance is tracking against the targets you've set. If you start overseeing or doing managerial tasks rather than clinical procedures, you'll be limiting your practice's growth potential.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group, the leading dental practice consulting firm in North America. For the complete list of dates and locations where you can attend his latest seminar, visit

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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