Leadership Training

Eric Vickery and Alex Nottingham share that leadership training for dentists is crucial. Dentists often neglect leadership as they focus on clinical work. Learn how to lead your team effectively through self-awareness, strengths, and emotional intelligence.


About Eric Vickery

Eric holds a degree in business administration and brings a strong business and systems approach to his consulting. His initiation into the field of dentistry was in the area of office management. He managed dental practices for over ten years and has been consulting over 250 offices nationwide since 2001.

About Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy®. He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies upwards of $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.

Episode Transcript

Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.


This is Dental All-Stars, where we bring you the best in dentistry on marketing, management, and training. Here’s your host, Alex Nottingham. Welcome to Dental All-Stars. Our topic is leadership training, and our guest is Eric Vickery. Eric is the president of coaching at All-Star Dental Academy. He is also a podcast host here at Dental All-Stars, a Maxwell Team Certified Coach, professional speaker, case acceptance trainer, and high performance coach.


Please welcome Eric. Hey Alex, look at you using your speaking skills training in the introduction. I heard your voice dynamics. I heard you. Yes, yes, yes. It’s very good. Thank you. No, I’m just a natural. We talked about this last time. I’m natural. I was born this way. You know, I’m thinking about later. I was born this way. Thank you so much for the feedback. Because we talked in a prior podcast about Speak Like an All-Star, the program there. And I appreciate the tip you gave me about


when I was presenting, like not looking back at the slide, look forward, look at, you can have something in front of you and also making sure you don’t rely too much on the slides. Anyways, I always appreciate that you’re learning. That’s true. So we talked about speaking training before, let’s talk about leadership training and why do dentists want to work on leadership skills? Why is that important? It’s funny because dentists are…


absentee owners. Now, if you really know that definition, you say, no, a dentist is not an absentee owner. Dentist is actually there in the building. But what happens is dentists are, they are providers. They are worker bees working right along. They’re not sitting on a throne, managing a group of people, staying in touch, like really somebody on the administrative team could do. So if you think about the business structure of a dental office, the owner ought to be the one.


orchestrating all of it. You go here, you do that, you run the schedule, you pay this, let me put you there, let me answer the phone here, let me create some business. Well, when you’re so focused on the clinical side of things, that’s foundational. You have this tendency to have this either ignorance or desire to have more information or there’s absenteeism when it comes to leadership and what do team members want? They want a leader. And so there’s this draw to say, okay,


I know the clinical is really important, it’s foundational, but how do I really lead my team? How do I lead them through this? How do I get them to really do what I want them to do? How do I get followers here? And so leadership will always be a key.


part of running a business. It just can’t, any successful business cannot be run without effective leadership, let’s put it that way. I remember, I believe it was Tony Robbins, or it was, it was Emyth Revisited, Michael Gerber, but you have the entrepreneur, you have the manager, and you have the artist. And Tony would differentiate a little bit because you have the manager slash leader, and not all managers are leaders.


So being an entrepreneur, dentists are entrepreneurs. They have to be if they’re running their own business and they’re the artists because they’re doing the work. The capacity of manager, leader, and then again, manager, much of that can be outsourced, like just day-to-day operations. Tasks. But leadership is a whole different situation. Not all managers are leaders and not all leaders are good managers. And leaders are, it’s a specific, and I think leadership can also sometimes, often,


dovetail a bit with the entrepreneurial aspects, setting the vision, setting and making sure you support the vision. Now, we asked before in the speaker training, are speakers born or made? Same thing with leaders, are leaders born or made? Both. Okay. Yeah, both. I mean, obviously you have some natural abilities in you. You have some natural abilities in you. It’s how do you round it out? How do you…


balance it. How do you perfect some things that you don’t have that really need to be worked on? You know I’m a huge John Maxwell fan and I think the mistake people make is if you were to fall on the born side, I’m just born, is he calls that level one of leadership. You have the position. Congratulations. You are now a business owner, whatever your title is, right? Somebody gives you a title like president of coaching. So what? You still gotta go out and earn it. You


people you look around nobody’s following you, you’re not a leader. So, and let’s liken this to dentistry, let’s put this in dental format, when a team member is in pursuit of a title, office manager, a lot of times we see this, oh, I wanna be office manager, I wanna be office manager. And the belief is, I can, I don’t know, I’m just making some stuff up here, I can tell people I’m office manager. I have this title now, I have some clout. Well.


Your title does not guarantee people are gonna listen. I was hired by my father-in-law in dentistry in 1998. I was 23 years old. Guess what my title was on day one? Office manager. That was a huge, huge mistake. That was a tough, tough lesson to learn. I mean, I didn’t know any answers about anything. So if you’re gonna be the office manager, why are you asking me questions, right? And so oftentimes we think we need this title office manager to get there.


our friend, Dr. David Pier has an amazing focus on this. And he says to his team, he says, here’s a job description for any of these jobs, these positions, these titles. You do that job for 30 to 90 days, you come tell us that you’re already doing the job, we’ll give you the title then that goes with that. And your team is all gonna say, yeah, they’re doing that job title. It’s like you earn your right to be labeled this. So I love his position on that. So.


Yeah, I have to be really careful with the born versus developed. You have some natural gifts, but you got to develop. Well, yeah, and I can add to that. So we talk a lot about disk and Myers-Briggs. There’s a lot of different strengths, finders, EQ. So there’s different ways to get to know yourself where you’re at. And that can change. Like you used to be very high eye and you move to more sea as you move along. So that so it can be changed. We have certain predisposition.


We were talking also, I’ve embraced more my role as visionary, not just CEO, right? And I see what that means. Cause CEO is a title, but what actually is the gift that you’re able to do being able to see big vision? I’ve always been able to do that. Now you may have, and this is true. It’s a lot like, you know, instead of saying natural, I would say we all have, yes, we have, we have talents.


We talk about with speaker training. Nobody’s born a speaker. They have talents that make them more predisposed to better communicating. Their voice, their projection, those are areas. When it comes to leaders, again, some of the speaker skills help too, right? Projection, voice, communication, also vision, be able to see big pictures. Other people are more task oriented. Some people are more creative.


So we have these gifts, and then we need to be able to fine tune them to, you know, it’s like that clay, right? We have to make it, clean it up to make it look nice, or a stone, and polish it. And if we’re missing some of these capabilities, we can cultivate them. And here’s the situation being a dentist. Whether you like it or not, if you’re running a practice, many dentists are artists, tacticians.


they’re going to be weaker typically on the entrepreneurial side, the leadership side. And some are strong, but regardless, that’s the area to financial freedom, to personal freedom, to joy is to be able to cultivate, to take your vision and make it into reality. And that’s where leadership skills have to continue to be strengthened. Because so many dentists are like, I’m going to do it all myself.


All right, I’m gonna do this, this is the micromanager. That isn’t gonna work long-term. That’s gonna make you very, and your wife who’s a therapeutic coach, that’s your fastest way to burn out, is if you can’t learn to effectively communicate and you can’t lead, it’s gonna all come back to you and you’re moving towards burnout. He said it perfectly. So how, how do I do that? Oh, I need to know myself. Okay, I have this title now. I’m on level one. I’ve got this title.


What do I do? Okay. Some of the things we do, this is basic is like you said, level one is no no thyself. We talked about that in speakers to know yourself. So what’s your disk personality type? What are you naturally drawn to do? And then you need to understand the weaknesses of that natural draw on your disk. So as an eye, my natural weakness is talking too much, not being focused on the details enough. So I’ve got choices to make round myself out or get people on my team who help with that.


two different ways to go. So disc is the first level of leadership training. Two would be strength finder. We use Gallup strength finder to do that. What are my top five strengths? Look at those, it’s gonna tell you my insights report. What are my weaknesses with that? How do I lead through this through understanding my strengths? If I’m, this is not me, but let’s say one of my strengths is competitive, which is a high D theme thing, competition, and everything’s competition for me. I’m just gonna win, I’m just gonna beat you at this. And


what you lose a lot of people skills in that, in that strength. And so if you understand that I need to make, showing appreciation, celebrating wins with my team, if I can make that a part of my checklist, my task, I’ll be more likely to do it. Now all of a sudden I’m rounding out my leadership skills. Okay, so that’s level two. And then level three is EQ. So you take the emotional intelligence test, there’s four categories basically. So self-awareness, self-management. How self-aware are you?


Okay, when you’re talking. And on the other side of it, social awareness, can you read the room? And relationship management. And everything we teach on verbal skills, great calls process, all of that, that is relationship management. People call that sales too, right? It’s how do I relate to people and read them and get to know them and work through this with them? And so, you know, getting some hacks in your emotion, you can actually grow intelligently if it’s emotional intelligence, your IQ you can’t change after, I don’t think it’s like.


22 years old or 16 years old. Yeah, 16 years old. Your IQ is pretty much set, the bandwidth you have, but your EQ could be constantly expanded. And in the book, they talk about the best CEOs in the country. 70% of them have high EQ and average IQ. Only 20% of the best CEOs have high IQ. And what do we deal with with dentists? Oftentimes, very, very, very book smart, left brain analyticals.


science undergrad just aces across the board. And so what that typically means is right brain struggle, relationship management struggle. The good news is those can be learned. You got the hard part down, the IQ part’s done. It’s the EQ part that has to be softened. And so when we do our leadership retreat, it’s really focused in on how do I understand myself and where do I need to round myself out?


or bring people on board with me in areas that I cannot. An integrator, right? Things like that, yeah. That’s right, yeah. And there’s the famous quote from that book, Emotional Intelligence, Dan Goldman, and it’s EQ is a greater predictor, emotional intelligence is a greater predictor of success than IQ, intelligence. And just financial success and just personal life success. Think about the books that we grew up.


grew up reading, right? How to win friends and influence people. Even, yeah. Sure, EQ. Think and grow rich. I mean, you can go down the list of Rich Man in Babylon, Seven Habits of Highly Influenced People. Seven Habits. I mean, all of that EQ is integrated in everything that we teach and train. If you think about it, it’s just a nice nutshell. And then we’re taking that out of the box of the book and saying, how does that apply to you, Alex, as a leader? And how do you create some…


structure an action plan to becoming a better leader. What are you going to actually do differently tomorrow to be a better leader? Tell me, well, tell me about, you alluded to this leadership retreat and we’re doing a leadership retreat in January. And I’ll actually, I’ll make a note to, because we can, yeah. Because I don’t want it to be specific because then it can be again, I don’t know. But we, so we have this leadership retreat. Tell me a little bit about,


the genesis of the leadership retreat. Yeah. And what’s that about? Well, think about the dental MBA program on All-Star. Yep. I know what that is. You do an amazing job at teaching this. And it’s hard to get through that. We have a client, an inadonist, who enrolled to get his MBA. And I think he said he went to like three classes and they were like international stuff. And he’s like, this isn’t for me. This is global.


marketing, I don’t need this for my business. And so. Global, yeah, international business. And so it’s a great story, part of a great speech. And what we, the genesis is, look, you need to know how to run your business from a leadership standpoint, you need to know how to manage your team from a leadership standpoint. And there are five pillars of any business that you learn getting your MBA, okay? These five pillars are your vision to create goals, what’s your why, your purpose, okay? Number two.


would be your people, your team. How do you create your culture? Robin does an amazing job talking about this. Number three is KPI understanding. Do you, can you do a state of the union meeting with your team and help explain the numbers and know what they are and have your pulse on it? Number four would be systems, your standard operating procedures. Do you have those? And number five is training and development. And are you a good trainer? Now what’s funny about that is if you look at that from an MBA standpoint, okay, there’s a five pillars of business. I’m gonna turn those into trees.


And I’m going to say from a leadership standpoint, if vision and goals is number one tree, the branches off of that, what does that create? You know, like finding your why, how to share that, how to have a leadership presentation speaking skills to not only tell your team what the vision is, but get them fired up to follow. So there’s these branches off these pillars that require leadership skills to develop a really healthy business. So somebody might go.


Yeah, I have all these five things down for a great business, but I failed to, my team just doesn’t understand why we do what we do. Okay, so you haven’t led, been a leader in that vision. And if you correlate that back to five levels of leadership by John Maxwell, totally different five, but that first level he’s talking about, which is just, you got the position. Well, when you can share the vision, you can develop relationship with people.


Level two is you got permission now to lead me. Ah, I see who you are. I like what you’re about. I like your vision. I give you permission to lead me. And then number three, if you go into KPIs and action with systems and training, now it’s level three is production. Oh, wow, I wanna be part of something that’s better, bigger than me. Something that I can help grow. We heard that from one of our coaches today. I wanna be a part of something that I can launch in and really be a part of.


That’s the level of production and you bring more people in. And then in training and development, that’s actually John Max was level four of leadership, people and development. Do you do a good enough job developing people? We actually don’t get into level five, which is Pinnacle, which is legacy. Those are John Wooden’s, John Maxwell types. We’re not gonna talk about how to be this legacy person, immortalized, those people probably are already well on their way.


We’re just trying to get people to understand that these trees of a business require leadership. And if you’re ineffective in one of those areas, your business is going to suffer. If you’re, you have a lot of turnover, you have lack of engagement cultures off. Why is that as a leader? Do you know how to analyze what it is? And yeah. Well, give me a, give me an understanding about this retreat. What does it look like and who’s supposed to go?


Is this something you come one time? Do you come annually? What is this about? We are going to workshop how to overcome and implement leadership skills when it comes to running your business. We spend an awful lot of time on perfecting our clinical skills, which we need, so we’re not a phony, but yet the business isn’t soaring. The business isn’t taking off. Which one of these five categories, from vision down to training, is lacking? Three failures you wanna think about, okay? Failure of vision.


People don’t know why we do what we do. Failure of strategy. You’re not getting the results you want. So people don’t know what mistakes they’re making and how to get clear on that. And then failure of tactics. You know, execute on a good plan with a clear vision. That’s a how we do this. And those how mistakes are important to know what they are and identify them. You need to be in a room full of people. Tell me what your…


mistakes are with with I have other leaders leading this with us, right other dentists that have been through this, to lead this retreat with us. And we’re going to go through that with you and say, Oh, let’s get clarity and vision. Let’s actually show you how to do a vision. In coaching, we ask all the time for their vision. I just started with a client, like, Oh, yeah, I got a vision. And he sent me his document is amazing. But his vision was two lines. It’s not very clear. That’s a mission statement. That’s a direction we’re going. But your vision isn’t really painting a very clear picture on what we’re doing.


on a daily basis five years from now. Well, thank you, Eric. And I’ll put a link in the show notes to allstardentalacademy.com slash events. And there you’ll be able to take a look at leadership, retreat, speaker training, we call Speedlick an all-star. We have the mastery series, the summit. There’s a lot of events all around the year, different places you can see which ones fit you and interest you. Do them all if you can. Do a few if you can. Just continue training and thank you.


as always for joining us. Eric, please remember to follow us. Yes, and please remember to follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube. Get episodes as they are released. Share with your friends. And until next time, go out there and be an All-Star. An All-Star.


We hope you enjoyed this episode of Dental All-Stars. Visit us online at AllStarDentalAcademy.com.


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