FROM PEOPLE PLEASER TO PEOPLE LEADER
CYNTHIA GOERIG | CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Endodontists naturally slide toward the “people pleaser” pattern. After all, it is within your professional ethics to put the needs of the patient ahead of all other concerns. For patient care, that is a good thing … but when people pleasing drives other important areas of your life, it can work against you.
In personal coaching with many doctors, I have found that people pleasing shows up in a number of limiting ways in the practice:
- The doctor feels a deep sense of personal responsibility for everyone around them and actively tries to help everyone. Meanwhile, their own goals and priorities languish on to-do lists forever without any progress being made.
- The doctor strives for harmony and avoids anything that could result in conflict, disagreement or pushback. The practice is almost run as a democracy, with the team effectively having a veto over any new initiatives.
- The challenges of running the practice are a private and silent burden where the doctor feels they are only entitled to get what they need after they have fulfilled what everyone else wants first.
What people pleasing actually does is create a leadership and accountability void in the practice. The surest sign is when you feel you are stuck at a certain level for a while. You don’t feel the team is evolving or improving. Your practice finances have not kept up with your personal goals. You sense a widening gap between where your practice is and where you wish it could be.
The antidote for people pleasers is to find a new philosophy and approach to take care of people without feeling personally responsible. That is what being a people leader is about. People leaders create the opportunities and framework in which those they lead can be successful, provided those team members are also engaged and interested in doing their part to achieve it.
As a people leader, your primary responsibility is to define a vision and the steps/goals to achieve that. Within that vision, you visualize the paths that allow your team to rise to the new opportunity, and you create team alignment, belief and commitment to the future you have envisioned.
For doctors who have been in people pleasing mode for a long time, asserting a more articulated vision is challenging. The doctor’s vision has been suppressed, sometimes for years. Shifting your style from pleaser to leader also means changing how the team perceives and responds to you, which requires some fortitude to see it through the initial bumps on the road.
Many doctors can benefit from outside professional support as they take back leadership of their practice to chart a new course. That professional support can include continuing education to illuminate and validate the doctor’s goals for the team, and to build team alignment for a better future. It also includes professional practice coaching with an experienced coach who knows how to get practices over the hump and onto a new trajectory.
Of course, both seminars and coaching are part of the solutions that Endo Mastery offers. If you are interested in a free practice analysis to discover both possibilities for your vision and how to get your team on board, don’t hesitate to call us.