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Prof. Dr Anka Letic, DDS., PhD

Vision and mission. How to create your Identity in your community

Good leadership is important for the success of any organization. Leaders have a key role as ‘change agents’ and role models (Fig. 1). Change agents can be described as requiring seven skills to manage change effectively.

These are:

1. The ability to work independently, without the power, sanction and support of the management hierarchy.

2. The skills of an effective collaborator, able to compete in ways that enhance rather than destroy co-operation. Leadership in health care

3. The ability to develop high trust relationships, based on high ethical standards.

4. Self-confidence, tempered with humility.

5. Respect for the process of change, as well as the content.

6. The ability to work across business functions and units, to be ‘multi-faceted and ambidextrous’.

In a healthcare organization, good leadership is important and has critical role to the organization’s success ( Fig.1, Tab.1). What is “good leadership” in healthcare organizations? In addition, what is the “success” that healthcare organizations seek? The quality and safety of care provided by a healthcare organization depend on many factors. Some of the most important are: A culture that fosters safety and quality; The planning and provision of services that meet the needs of patients; The availability of resources -human, financial and physical; A sufficient number of competent staff and other care providers; Ongoing evaluation and improvement of performance. Only the leaders of a healthcare organization have the resources, influence, and control to provide these factors. The leaders can together establish and promulgate the organization’s mission, vision, and goals. The leaders can strategically plan for the provision of services, acquire and allocate resources, and set priorities for improved performance. Moreover, it is the leaders who establish the organization’s culture through their words, expectations for action, and behavior—a culture that values high quality, safe patient care, responsible use of resources, community service, and ethical behavior; or a culture in which these goals are not valued. “Leadership theory” is dynamic and continues to change over time. The early “Great Man theory” assumed that certain people have characteristics that make them better leaders.


Tab.1. Leadership roles in health care

Educate – Teach

Entertain (stories)

Inspire  confidence

Engage (emotions, personalities)

Enrich lives (save time, energy, money, create community)


Improve performance – support  reflection/clinical supervision

Reward and recognize individual contributions

Recognize the needs of the service from clinically based environment

Lead and develop services – implementing change

Support  the organization and, when necessary, provide a bridge between senior management and team members/employees


Various behavioral theories existed between 1940 and 1980 describing common leadership styles such as authoritarian, democratic and laissez-fair. An emerging theory involves supportive leadership, which states that supporting and building relationships with employees will increase the likelihood that they will be positively influenced and motivated to work towards goals. The theory is founded on organizational behavior studies that suggest that people are happier and more satisfied in their work when they have supportive leaders who empathize at a personal level.
Dentist, make decisions about a patient’s diagnosis and treatments, including also other clinicians such as colleague dentists, technician, specialist or medical doctors. An important characteristic of a good leader is the ability to explore personal and team motives/beliefs in accomplishing a change or perceived vision of success. As part of this process true leadership requires the ability to critically, appraise the team process and outcomes on the path to achieve a shared goal. Leadership requires constant fine-tuning of self as well as reflection on the individual needs and characteristics of the team. Clinicians should have an insight into leadership styles and responsibilities in order to gain a deeper understanding of the attributes required of being, or supporting, ‘leaders’ within the organization. Decision and Intervention are the essence of action and Reflection and Conjecture are the essence of thinking: the essence of medicine is combining these two realms in the service of others. Deepen your self-awareness with executive leadership training and empower your staff to improve performance. Leadership training program combines proven-in-action techniques with peer interaction and insights from the latest research to help you master the competencies of effective executive leadership.

Dental Leadership is not a Position or Title
The types of challenges that dental clinicians face when leading within the complex setting of a modern healthcare services include: diverse and changing needs, increasing patient expectations, and the high cost of new interventions and treat. This requires clinicians to: consider the needs of the wider patient population; to take decisions that not only make the best of resources but also deliver clinical quality; and implement clinically led service improvements that are likely to succeed. The functional results-oriented leadership style focuses on the process of an organization implying leadership as having the specific role and skills necessary to deliver the desired results of the group based on and meeting the needs of three areas, namely, individuals, team and tasks. Dental Leadership is not a position or title. It is not a simple declaration by any doctor that they are leaders. Leadership is an ASSESSMENT made by OTHER clinicians and team members about the physician’s ability to lead and take care of the concerns of the clinical team, the organization and the community over multiple horizons of time. However, defining leadership as an assessment by others represents a challenge as every person has his/her own definition of what leadership is or should be; therefore, feedback about leadership can be overly subjective and unfocused.
Exists leadership competencies and behaviors around four domains: Leading Self, Leading with Strategy, Leading People and Leading for Results (Tab.2). Lead Self First - by seeing and knowing self first, then seeing and leading others. They demonstrate integrity, self-awareness, optimism, and leadership by example. Lead with Strategy– who work with their teams and hospital partners to identify and implement unconventional strategies. Lead People–who empower others to act. They are effective collaborators who lead their peers and organizations through periods of uncertainty. Lead for Results –are Goal Drivers, Orchestrators, Customer and Quality Champions who maximize performance and optimize safety, thus enabling their groups and organizations to thrive in the new world of healthcare.


1. https://www.leadershipacademy.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/NHSLeadership-LeadershipModel-10-Print.pdf
2. Garman AN, Brinkmeyer L, Gentry D, Butler P, Fine D. Healthcare leadership ‘outliers’: An analysis of Senior administrators from the top U.S. hospitals. J Health Adm Educ 2010;27(2)
3. Collins D, Holton E. The effectiveness of managerial leadership development programs: a meta-analysis of studies from 1982 to 2001. Hum Resour Dev Q 2004;15(2):217-248
4. Handy C (1991). Gods of Management: The changing work of organizations. New York: Oxford University Press.
5. Hawkins E, Thornton C (Eds.) (2002). Six steps to effective management: Managing and Leading Innovation in Health Care. London: Bailliere Tindall.
6. Kanungo RN, Mendonca M (1996). Ethical Dimensions of Leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

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