By Julie Parker, Julie Parker Practice Success

Self-control is a vital skill to master when you are managing a group of people.

I know from my early practice-ownership days that certain situations would challenge me. Such as staff calling in sick, not checking lab work had arrived for an imminent insert appointment and staff not following a process that had already been explained. Despite priding myself on being a fair and caring boss with realistic expectations, my initial reaction to these occurrences was annoyance and frustration. These negative reactions came across in my facial expression, my tone of voice and, of course, in what I said at the time. And I was always assured to feel regret just moments after.

I reflected upon this characteristic of myself. I was not proud of it and if I truly wanted to master leadership, I had to change my behaviour.

I examined my current process and realised that these seemingly slight issues would spark a stronger reaction in me than the larger issues. I determined that my bad reaction was to those situations that had an immediate impact on the smooth running of the surgery for that moment or day. You usually have time to contemplate the larger issues that arise in a business, but the smaller ones interrupt you and demand immediate attention.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become you habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I thought of the above quote from Mahatma Gandhi. I have always loved it and in fact use it as my ‘behaviour guide’. I determined that to be able to address my actions I needed to first address my beliefs. Did I honestly hold the belief that running a business would not have problems? That staff would never be sick? That every lab job would arrive on time? That every process I implemented would be instantly embraced by all staff? I have been working in dental surgeries for 28 years and these three events happen…ALL THE TIME! So I changed my belief to using Pareto’s 80:20 principle. Things run smoothly 80% of the time, and then 20% of the time, they don’t. I embraced this concept.

Then I chose what my reaction to problems was to be.

So, I made a commitment to myself that no matter what happened, I would be light-hearted and encouraging. I would not let the urge to ‘blame’ or be passive aggressive be a part of me or the management of the situation (by anybody).

The processes put in place to resolve these issues were the same. My self-management though was different and my team (and I) were happier because of it. The calmer, more effective approach to problem solving is also seen and adopted by others, making a smarter and more resilient team.

So smile in the face of these minor disruptions and I promise you will have a happier practice because of it!

Julie Parker
DirJulie Parker Practice Success
m. 0407 657 729
e. Parker was the first non-dentist to own a dental practice in Australia. After 10 successful years of managing her practice in Brighton, Victoria, Julie joined forces with Australasia’s Passion Provocateur, Charles Kovess, to create Julie Parker Practice Success. They are on a mission to teach all dental teams the strategies and know-how of achieving great success.

107/18-34 Station Street,
Sandringham VIC 3191 Australia

T: +61 407 657 729