When it comes to running a business, I’ve experienced a LOT in the last 10+ years, and I’ll tell you what—doing endo well is basically the business of dentistry. And doing it well is important to the growth of your practice. 

Wondering what I mean? Well, as business owners, we are the leaders of our practices. That’s a cool, powerful position to be in—but there is a lot that can get in our way. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little Type A. It’s hard for me to hand off responsibilities to others and trust they’ll be done right. 

And what makes delegating even harder is the fact that I’m a perfectionist. I think calling perfectionism what it is and getting it out in the open is important. What are the challenges in leadership? There are many, but today I want to talk about perfectionism and how it can hold you back—because it’s not a little personality quirk. It’s a huge business hurdle. 

Challenges in Leadership: How Perfectionism Can Ruin Your Day (and Your Business)

You know this feeling, I’m sure. You misdiagnose someone or your final radiograph isn’t perfect. You’re furious with yourself, and you use it as an excuse to beat yourself up. 

Hey, I want to do everything perfectly, too. And as healthcare professionals, it’s important to get it right, because our diagnoses and procedures have a real impact on our patients’ lives. 

But we’re all human, and learning and improving require that we practice. And sometimes fail. 

Putting in the hours, failing, and trying again is one of the reasons why I created E-School— especially E-School LIVE. So that dentists wouldn’t shrug off patients and say “Oh, we don’t do that here” and instead felt confident performing endo. 

What’s the cost of NOT allowing yourself to be imperfect? 

You never get to expand your practice. 

You don’t get to grow as a clinician. 

And you don’t get the chance to truly perfect your skills so you can treat your patients effectively. 

Just saying. 

Let’s Talk Delegation

Delegation is a real challenge in leadership circles. And it’s often a byproduct of perfectionism! 

I struggled with this one for ages, so I’m not going to sit here and pretend like it’s easy. But if you’re a perfectionist and you want everything to be run exactly the way you want it to be run in your practice—I get it. 

Yet …  if you’re going to micromanage and control everything your team does, well, get ready to deal with a lot of turnovers and prepare for some major burnout. 

It’s hard enough to manage and control our own lives—you’re really going to take on the task of controlling everyone in your whole practice?! 

When you’re so obsessed with everything being done just so—to the point that you won’t delegate to others—then you’re not making space to actually perform the functions you’re meant to as a LEADER. 

And when your team doesn’t feel empowered—well, they’ll become frustrated and stagnant in their career and find somewhere else to work. 

My practice thrives because of my team. I’d never have gotten this far without them. 

But I had to work on my own personal development to loosen up my grip, let go a little, trust their expertise, and allow them to do their thing. The best part? They’re really good at it. Better than good. They’re pros. That’s why I hired them. 

Do the same for your team. Give them extra training and support when they need it—but let them stand on their own two feet! That way you can save some teeth instead of managing everyone all the time.

Life’s About Taking Risks!

When you’re in charge of making decisions that impact your team, your patients, and your bottom line, it can be hard to make changes. 

So ask yourself, what would happen if it didn’t work out perfectly? That fear of failure would bubble right back up to the surface. 

But in business (and in life!), if you don’t take risks, you can’t reap the rewards. 

Especially in a medical field like ours, where new innovations are being made all the time, it’s so, SO important to evolve alongside the field. But the work doesn’t stop there—we need to make sure our teams understand the WHY behind each procedure, so they can assist accordingly. When everyone is working together for the same outcome—the clinical outcomes are always better. This is some of the magic I witness time and time again during E-School LIVE when dentists learn alongside their assistants. 

It’s scary. It’s hard. But it is worth it in the end when you get better results, save on chair time, expand your services, and so much more!

An Antidote to Perfectionism: Confidence

What can help you overcome the challenges in leadership? I’ve got an idea. 

When you’re confident in your team’s abilities, you don’t have to micromanage them. 

When you’re confident in your own abilities, a little mistake doesn’t become a HUGE deal. 

When you’re confident in the decisions you make as a leader, then your business can continue to grow. 

One of the main reasons I started E-School was to support general dentists in learning new skills and improving their basic endo abilities. I wanted them to gain confidence in common procedures so they could handle them with competence. 

If you’re interested in growing your confidence as a clinician so you can battle the monster of perfectionism (hey, take it from me—it’s an ongoing process) check out E-School and see if it might be supportive to you and your practice. 

And drop your tips for ditching perfectionism in the comments!

– Sonia