Lessons From The Royals

February 4, 2024
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Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales went into the hospital for “abdominal” surgery on January 16th.  Communications about the Princess comes through Kensington Palace.  Their first press release on January 17th, was vague, only saying that she “will remain in hospital for 10-14 days before returning home to continue her recovery.”  They subsequently said that she would refrain from public appearances for at least 3 months.

This week, the matter boiled over when the Prince of Wales, abruptly pulled out from attending a memorial service for King Constantine of Greece, citing a “personal matter.”  Fuel on the fire.

The level of mistrust of leaders in positions of authority has diminished.  An example, closer to home, of why this occurs is how the CDC and our government acted during the Covid crisiswith vaccine mandates, and school closings.  Dr. Phil, one of the more trusted people on mainstream TV, came out this week and shocked the VIEW’s hosts when he lambasted these policies.

The media’s preoccupation with everything related to the British Royals in particular, and other Royalty in general, coupled with the public’s lack of trust has resulted in an explosion of theories about the Princess of Wales’ illness.  Is is cancer?  Is it fatal?

In the absence of information, people will tend to fill in the blanks in a way that might not bear any semblance to the reality and will NOT be in the best interest of the party in question.  In the case, the Royals, speculation about “worst case scenarios” for the Princess and her family.

Apologists will point to “privacy” as a rationale for not making information public.  But people in authority and leadership roles have a different mandate.  They give up some of their rights to privacy.  It goes with the job.  King Charles and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had an obligation to make their diagnoses of prostate cancer public, though both could have done so more effectively.

And here’s the lesson for all small businesses and healthcare practices in particular; transparency and veracity matter.  Leaders who exhibit Authenticity, Vulnerability and Honesty get high marks from their teams.

Loss of trust is amplified by the failure of authorities to lead and communicate effectively, part of which entails admitting mistakes and sincerely apologizing.  A leader in a dental practice can exhibit authenticity and vulnerability in various ways. Here’s an example scenario:

Let’s say the leader gathers their team for a meeting to discuss the challenges the practice is facing due to recent changes in the industry. Instead of presenting a polished facade or pretending to have all the answers, the leader starts by openly acknowledging their own uncertainties and concerns about the situation. They might say something like:

“Team, I want to have an honest conversation with all of you today. As we’re well aware, the dental industry is evolving rapidly, and we’re facing some challenges that are causing me a great deal of concern. I’ll admit, I don’t have all the solutions right now, and that’s a bit scary for me. However, I firmly believe in our team’s abilities and our shared commitment to excellence, and the values we share. I want to hear your thoughts and ideas on how we can navigate these uncertainties together.”

In this scenario, the leader demonstrates authenticity by being transparent about their own feelings and uncertainties. They’re not afraid to admit vulnerability or express their concerns openly to their team. By doing so, they create a culture of trust and openness, where team members feel comfortable sharing their own perspectives and collaborating on solutions. This fosters a sense of unity and resilience within the practice, ultimately strengthening its ability to adapt and thrive in the face of challenges.

Here are some books that might be helpful when trying to become a better leader.


“Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek

“Good Leaders Ask Great Questions” by John Maxwell

“Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson

“Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown

“Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman

“The Five Dysfunctions of The Team” by Patrick Lencioni


Leaders aren’t born, they are built.  It’s a continuous journey that involves both self-awareness and deliberate skill development. Here are several ways one can learn to be a better leader:


Seek feedback: Actively seek feedback from peers, supervisors, and team members. Constructive criticism can help identify blind spots and areas for improvement.
Reflect on experiences: Take time to reflect on past leadership experiences. What worked well? What could have been done differently? Learning from both successes and failures is crucial for growth.
Embrace lifelong learning: Stay curious and open-minded. Continuously seek out opportunities for learning and self-improvement, whether through books, courses, workshops, or mentorship.
Develop emotional intelligence: Work on understanding and managing your own emotions, as well as empathizing with others. Emotional intelligence is essential for effective communication, conflict resolution, and building strong relationships.
Practice active listening: Cultivate the ability to truly listen to others without judgment or interruption. Pay attention not only to what is being said but also to nonverbal cues and underlying emotions.
Lead by example: Demonstrate the values and behaviors you expect from your team members. Model integrity, accountability, and resilience in your own actions.
Delegate effectively: Learn to trust your team members and delegate tasks appropriately. Empower others to take ownership and develop their skills while freeing up time for strategic leadership.
Foster a positive culture: Create a supportive and inclusive work environment where team members feel valued, motivated, and empowered to contribute their best.
Seek mentorship: Find mentors or role models who exemplify the qualities you aspire to as a leader. Learn from their experiences and seek their guidance on navigating challenges.
Practice empathy and humility: Cultivate empathy by putting yourself in others’ shoes and considering their perspectives and feelings. Recognize that leadership is a journey of continuous growth and be willing to learn from everyone around you.

By committing to practicing these strategies and remaining open to feedback and self-reflection, anyone can learn to be a better leader and make a positive impact on their team and organization.

Leadership matters.  They set the tone, they are the models of the culture they wish to promote.

Want to create a better culture and become a better leader?  Get The Culture Guide and Workbook Now!

To your leadership journey,



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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.

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