Insights From Our Editors

The Leadership Development Lessons Most Relevant to ODs

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

Jan. 22, 2020

Leadership development has long been a hot topic in business. With so much literature on the subject, which aspects of leadership development are most relevant to the work of optometrists?

Here are the top three subjects within leadership development every optometrist leader should master:

1) Learning to balance and sustain their own energy.
Leadership starts at the top. Leaders must lead. Leaders must lead in more than just the office. Leaders must lead in demonstrating how to manage an effective work-life balance that sustains and does not drain energy. Things we do within our strengths are easy and enjoyable. Things we do that are within our weaknesses can be done, but they tend to drain energy. Major lessons in work-life balance are: delegating, learning to say no and learning how to prioritize.

2) Enhancing communication skills.
One of the most important skills within mastering leadership communication is that you must understand the personality of the person receiving your communication. Not every personality “hears” the same thing the same way. Start with whatever personality system you want, such as Myers-Briggsi , DISCii , OCEAN traitsiii or the Enneagramiv. Pick system one and learn how to communicate effectively with each subgroup/trait within each system. Another important thing to learn within this area is mastering crucial conversationsv.

3) Being a lifelong learner.
Effective learners never stop learning. Optometrists often make the mistake of thinking that because they are attending continuing medical and optometric education, they are lifelong learners. Not true. If ongoing practice management education is not included in that package, then the learning is skewed. The “best” doctor can be running the “worst” practice. On the other hand, the “best” OD owner practice manager will have the “best” doctors. Keep learning in all aspects of your practice.

Leadership development is not just “book learning.” Leadership development is about demonstrating that the skills can be used in real time in the real world.

There are many other subject areas within leadership development to explore and master after you have addressed the three areas above. Start this week on a path that takes your own skills and your practice to the next level.

References
i. https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/
ii. https://www.discprofile.com/what-is-disc/overview/
iii. https://www.quora.com/In-psychology-the-Big-Five-personality-traits-are-called-OCEAN-What-is-an-OCEAN-personality-like
iv. https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions
v. http://www.wikisummaries.org/wiki/Crucial_Conversations:_Tools_for_Talking_When_Stakes_are_High

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