Are you finding that clinical practice is no longer what you hoped it would be?
Are the dreams and aspirations which were once your driving force becoming a fading memory? Are you exhausted at the end of your day, with little energy for quality family time?
If any of these scenarios are true for you, you are likely suffering from burnout, and if it is any consolation, you are not alone. The bad news is that burnout is approaching epidemic proportions in the healthcare industry. The good news is that burnout is both treatable and avoidable.
Leadership is an acquired skill that develops over time.
As coaches, we have dealt extensively with practitioners experiencing burnout. We have found a few common threads when it comes to the etiology of this phenomenon.
Interestingly, it is not the technical requirements or basic clinical skills that trouble doctors experiencing burnout.
It is the non-clinical issues that lead them down this path, issues such as:
- staff conflict
- regulatory demands
- longer hours with less compensation
- the feeling of being out of control in an ever-increasingly complex practice environment.
Why is this the case?
Let me explain.
As a forty-one year veteran of clinical endodontics, I can state with certainty that my clinical practice has become more complex and demanding over the years. My ability to lead a healthy, profitable endodontic practice was fine forty years ago, but what worked forty years ago will not produce the same results today.
Imagine if our clinical skill sets had failed to evolve over the past forty years?
The thought is scary, but the same is true for our ability to lead our practice. Unless we scale our leadership skills to meet the growing demands and complexity of our time, we will experience disillusionment and eventually, burnout. We see this scenario playing out time and time again.
Someone much smarter than me stated that we have two choices when it comes to being overwhelmed with the level of complexity the modern world offers. We can try to decrease the complexity of the world (not going to happen!), or we can develop the skills necessary to deal with the world’s complexity. Such is the plight of the modern healthcare provider.
As complexity continues to outpace our leadership development and our ability to cope with increasing demands; we begin to experience the non-clinical problems that come with leadership deficiencies.
Some of the most commonly experienced problems include:
- Work/life imbalance
- Staff turnover
- Lack of motivation
- Under-performance and lack of profitability
- Regret for having chosen this profession
- Increasing internal staff conflict
- Poor reviews on social media
- Loss of energy/resilience
At some point, most practitioners begin to realize that these issues are connected, and symptoms of a deeper, more insidious problem and hopefully seek help.
What I am describing is known as a “leadership developmental gap.” As more time passes and complexity continues to outpace our ability to deal with it, the gap continues to grow. Dealing with leadership gaps is easier when the gap is small; before we experience a case of full-blown burnout.
Leadership is an acquired skill that develops over time, yet there are several simple leadership techniques that can jump-start your development.
If you, like many in this industry, are finding yourself in a place of uncertainty right now, we invite you to book a Line of Sight Call.
These complimentary 20-minute sessions are a place where you can share your biggest challenge right now, and we can help you identify what leadership gap that may be and offer ways to overcome that challenge and keep your practice moving forward.
Click here to get in touch and book a call with one of us. We would love to help you take the next best step and in doing so avoid the burnout we have talked about today.
Dr. Joel Small and Dr. Edwin McDonald, the founders of Line of Sight Coaching, are dental practitioners, authors, speakers and Business Leadership Coaches who work with healthcare professionals to help them build more successful practices so they can live the balanced life they seek.
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