Are You A Manager? Or A leader?

January 24, 2021
*This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase from these links we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.



Pushing from behind or pulling from in front?; That is the question.   Which is more effective?

The answer is, as is true for most questions, is:  IT DEPENDS.

As a general rule, when asked, most people would say that they don’t like being “managed”.  As another general rule, most people lack the discipline or motivation to do ‘creative’ work for the benefit of another, a business, for instance, on their own, without being ‘managed.’

A common complaint among owners of small practices is that they seem to constantly have to repeat directions to people.  “I’ve told Sally to do this dozens of times, how come she can’t ‘get it’?”

Not having team members “get it” is not a problem of the team member.  It lies elsewhere.

If you build a team that is motivated by self interest, personal gain and motivated by other-than-mission factors, then pushing might be required to get the most out of them. Constantly giving direction is managing.

If however, you select people who are motivated by the same motive and mission of the company, then leading from the front, promoting the mission and the values will suffice.  Showing how the dots of a job are connected to the mission is usually all such people require to ‘get it.’

Which do YOU prefer?

Often, we see Doctors who want to be leaders but who have teams that require ‘management’.  Sometimes we find teams that need leadership but are lead by managers.  The scenarios vary.

What is best for your natural gifts and strengths?

Are you a leader or a manager?

The good news is that leadership can be learned.  The challenge we too often see is a lack of self-awareness on the part of the practice owner as to what their ‘management style’ is and what their deficiencies in that area might be.  A hiring process that does not differentiate between people who prefer being led than managed often compounds the problem.  That deficiency become magnified when a mission is either lacking or is not adequately communicated to new hires.

When we evaluate existing teams, the fist question we ask individual members is; “what’s the most important thing you do in your position in the practice?”

The answer to that question tells us if an employee “gets it.”   And, when we dig further, we often find that it’s not the employee’s fault for not ‘getting it’, rather it’s a lack of communication of the mission and value that the position has in the scheme of the practice and role in the ultimate beneficiary, the patient.  The dots have not been connected.

Here’s what successful practices do;

Step 1:  Define a worthy Mission

Step 2:  Hire people with whom the mission resonates

Step 3:  Communicate the Mission

Step 4:  Act in alignment with the Mission

Step 5:  Accountability to the Mission

It’s obviously not that simple, as people are complex.  Yet, highly successful teams are built and their practices flourish.  While, practices with dysfunctional teams languish and their owners are frustrated as to the cause.

If you are frustrated with a less than highly-functional team, schedule a complimentary, 20-minute strategy session.  HERE

To your excellent success and good fortune.

Michael, Laurie, Merideth, and the PPS Team

Reward the Effort, Enjoy the Journey
Let PPS Be Your GPS

Practice Success Insights

Sign up to receive insights into building a successful practice via email with the free Practice Perfect Pearls Newsletter.
Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

Book a FreeStrategy Session

Latest Articles

How to Stop Cancellations... without spending more.

Learn how successful practices ensure their appointment slots are filled... and their patients keep coming back!


The Proven Way to
Reboot Your Practice...

Increase profitability, decrease stress and achieve your goals with proven ways to ensure your practice thrives


From Hello to Hugs

Get the sensational book on how to turn callers into raving fans. A guide to making MORE from LESS in your dental practice.


Join Michael LIVE for the FREE Monthly Coffee With the Coach Webinar

Invite your entire team and get expert advice from an industry expert on a new, timely topic every month that you can implement in your practice right away.