Leading the charge: how to be a confident leader

Looking to gain confidence in your leadership skills? Bhavna Doshi shares some tried, tested and proven strategies to help you grow.

Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background

I’ve now been in the industry for about 30 years, in which time I have had many leadership roles. I’ve worked as a cosmetic dentist, owner of multiple award-winning practices in both dentistry and healthcare and been the director for the Perfect Smile Advanced Training Institute.

I’m now working solely for my company, Dental Wealth Builder, as a business coach, consultant and mentor. My latest accomplishment is my book Lead to Grow, which provides the keys to unlocking team-inspired success through designing a positive team culture.

What sparked your interest in the concept of leadership?

My fascination has always lied in unravelling the enigma of influential leaders who effortlessly inspire and foster unwavering loyalty among their teams while others struggle to garner support even for the slightest changes.

Throughout my entire career, I have relentlessly pursued the elusive answer to this puzzle. As a business coach, the most common questions I get from business owners and managers are all around unearthing the secret of motivating their teams to achieve peak performance.

Moreover, the industry-wide challenges of staff retention and recruitment have magnified the urgency of finding effective leadership approaches.

With unwavering conviction, I can confidently say that I have discovered the long-awaited leadership solutions sought by many in our industry. I have crafted a system that demystifies leadership, enabling anyone to achieve the extraordinary outcomes synonymous with inspirational leaders.

Why is leadership so important for a small business like a dental practice?

Within the healthcare industry, I feel there is a leadership void that needs eliminating. Countless practice owners and managers have succumbed to pitfalls born from prevailing myths surrounding leadership, thereby failing to ignite inspiration within their teams.

Compounding this issue is the prevalent tendency among leaders to adopt methodologies tailored for significantly larger organisations, overlooking the distinctive requirements of small businesses like dental practices. Leadership in dental practices is different and demands a nuanced approach as we navigate the intricacies of team dynamics and immerse ourselves amidst the front line action.

Consequently, we are intimately acquainted with the daily sensitivities that permeate our teams, necessitating an astute understanding of their unique context.

What would be your advice to a practice owner who is not confident in their leadership skills?

To a practice owner grappling with a lack of confidence in their leadership skills, my advice would be both compassionate and empowering but still remain focused on your business vision.

First and foremost, it is important to acknowledge that leadership is a journey, and self-doubt is a common hurdle to overcome. Leadership is not an innate quality, but a skill that can be developed with time and dedication.

Start by focusing on self-awareness. Understand your strengths and areas for improvement. Reflect on your values, vision, and personal leadership style. Embrace authenticity and lead with integrity, as these qualities resonate with others and foster trust within your team.

Building strong relationships is essential. Actively listen to your team members and create an environment where their voices are heard and valued.

Encourage open communication, collaboration, and feedback. Cultivate a supportive culture that empowers individuals to grow and contribute their unique perspectives.

‘Embrace the journey of growth’

Don’t be afraid to seek guidance and advice from experienced leaders or coaches. They can provide valuable insights and strategies tailored to your specific challenges.

Surround yourself with a network of mentors and peers who can offer support, guidance and accountability. Be patient and kind to yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and leadership skills take time to develop.

Celebrate your progress and learn from setbacks. Embrace the journey of growth and continue to invest in your development as a leader. With dedication, self-reflection and a commitment to growth, you will witness your confidence in leadership soar, positively impacting your practice, your team and, ultimately, your success.

You will also find many of the answers you are looking for within the pages of my book, Lead to Grow, as the solutions have come about from tried, tested and proven strategies.

Tell us about your book – why did you write it?

I’ve been meaning to write this book for years to no avail; something or other always prevented me. But the spark that I needed came unexpectedly from my son, Rohan.

To understand the significance of this catalyst, a glimpse into Rohan’s world is necessary. He possesses an insatiable love for literature, diligently amassing a treasury of non-fiction books on his cherished bookshelf.

His aspiration is nothing short of owning a multitude of tomes, each one a testament to his unwavering passion. It’s clear that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

One evening, early last year, during one of our tender mother-son conversations, as we often indulge in, the topic veered towards our dreams and ambitions. Almost casually, I mused my desire to write a book. In that instant, as if weaving enchantment with his words, Rohan painted a vivid picture in my mind.

He exclaimed with a fervour only a child can possess: ‘Mummy, it would be so good to have my mum’s book on my bookshelf; then I can show it off to all my friends and be so proud. I want a signed copy right here on my bookshelf!’

The driving force

Well, that was it! Those words ignited an inferno within me, fuelling my determination to gift him a profound sense of pride in his mother’s accomplishments.

This dream, his dream, became the driving force that propelled me through all the trials and tribulations that come hand in hand with publishing a book of this calibre. In moments of weariness or waning creative discipline, I would conjure the memory of that profound conversation, reminding myself of the ‘why’ behind my endeavours.

I wanted it to be the perfect gift for my son. So ultimately, this book transcended from being my life’s work, to a heartfelt promise that I made to Rohan and finally, my legacy.

How has your perspective on leadership developed throughout the writing process?

My intention has always been to provide guidance to individuals uncertain about their leadership abilities. I aspired to empower business owners and managers in cultivating teams filled with inspiration.

However, I aimed to achieve this goal through an approach that is easily comprehensible. Thus, I systematised the principles of leadership specifically tailored for small businesses.

My vision for this book was to offer actionable steps, transcending mere motivation. My ultimate objective was to craft a win-win strategy benefiting all teams involved.

Why is support from companies such as Philips so important to you?

My mission has always been to ignite inspiration, empower individuals and effect profound change within dental practices and their teams. And my collaboration with Philips allows me to fulfil this.

Philips embraces a mission of pioneering advancements, positioning themselves as frontrunners in the market. This innovative alignment perfectly mirrors the core philosophy of Dental Wealth Builder – an ethos rooted in the pursuit of a win-win-win scenario that uplifts patients, practices and teams collectively.

Our relationship is characterised by mutual reciprocity, as we incessantly strive to enhance dental practices. I feel I can add incredible value to those practices in association with Philips by honing their leadership and business acumen to perfection.

I am looking forward to this exclusive collaboration with Philips, poised to create an indelible impact, transcending boundaries and propelling our partnerships to unprecedented heights.

What’s next for you?

I am thrilled to announce that I am currently working on my next book, which is going to be equally transformational for dental business owners.

I am now also enjoying a new field of venture consulting for companies within the healthcare sector that want to take their teams to the next level. But my passion for coaching dental practices will always remain.

This article first appeared in Private Dentistry magazine.

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