Leadership is Action, not Position


It had a been a particularly busy day and after realizing the lack of food in my house, our family opted for takeout from a local restaurant.  It was serendipity when I opened my fortune cookie, as it read ‘leadership is action, not position.’

Five simple words that made leadership so clear to me.

In most dental practices, the dentist is viewed as the leader and is looked to for all the answers, decisions and operational responsibility.  After all, it’s his or her business, right?  While true in the technical sense, what I have found over the years is that leadership shows up in EVERY person on the dental team at any given time, on any given day and in any given moment.  Leadership cannot be defined by the title on a name tag or what’s printed on a business card or as the person who gets the corner office.  Leadership is action, not position.

To me, a leader is the front office person who helps the elderly patient to her car after a dental procedure.  A leader is the clinical assistant who takes the extra time to fully explain to the patient’s satisfaction what exactly a crown is and how it will benefit the patient’s overall health.  A leader is the hygienist who thoroughly evaluates a patient’s mouth, helps a patient understand the difficult choices he must make and supports his decision to move towards health without judgment.  A leader is simply someone who demonstrates and models behavior that others want to follow.

Yes, the dentist is the business leader who provides the vision and guides the mission for the practice. And I would also say every person on the team can be a leader by their actions.

So, if leadership is action … what steps can you take to become a better leader for your team?

Robyn Reis

Robyn Reis

Robyn began her dental career in 1998 as a marketing and communications director for a large group practice, and instantly fell in love with the world of dentistry. She has spent every waking moment since learning, growing and collaborating with dentists and their teams utilizing her expertise in all aspects of dental practice management, marketing, communications, HR, continuing education, and laboratory sales. Robyn's personal goals are to make a difference in someone's life every single day and to give the best of herself to those around her. Robyn and her family live and play in Northeast Ohio.