Membership Matters - March 2018 - 20

EMOTIONAL
INTELLIGENCE

By David Black, DDS

"Empathy is
the ability to
put ourselves in
someone else's
shoes. This is an
outward focus, a
focus on the other
person. It is a much
deeper emotion
than sympathy
because you have
to have more
knowledge about
how another person
is feeling and the
circumstances that
got them there."

20

Membership Matters

The Importance of Emotional
Intelligence in Dentistry
SOME OF THE RECURRING THEMES
YOU HEAR in conversations with dentists
are declining production, poor patient
compliance and an unmotivated team.
Although these are three separate issues
with seemingly different reasons to be
happening, the cause of all of them can
be traced back to how we deal with our
relationships with our patients and our team.
For many years, I have been a student of
leadership and how it will affect our business
success. Some of my more recent study has
been around emotional intelligence (EQ),
specifically the works of Daniel Goleman and
his seminal work, Emotional Intelligence,
written in the early 1980s. This has been
followed by many other works by many
authors. Since many of us are students of
practice management and have read all
the classic books about management and
leadership and the importance of leadership
to our success, you don't need a list of all the
books you should read to become a better
dental businessman.
What I am going to discuss today is how
EQ is important in our work with our team
and patients, and more specifically, how
EMPATHY, as a part of EQ, is one of the
key elements in our growth as leaders in
our practice.
The four foundational skills you need to
increase your EQ are:
1. Self-awareness
2. Self-regulation
3. Empathy-knowing others
4. Social skills-managing relationships
In recent literature, a fifth skill has been
added:
5. Commitment
The most basic skill starts with becoming
aware of your own emotions-the full range
of emotions you have, and how they affect
your behavior. Along with that awareness,

you have to learn what is acceptable
behavior and what is not. You also have to
decide how to regulate your behavior when
put under stress. This is a simple mandate,
but not an easy one. It takes time, practice
and something new to a lot of us who are
performance-driven or have perfectionistic
tendencies. This takes time: sitting, reading,
reflecting to become more self-aware. This
cannot happen with the everyday "noise"
we have around us during a normal day at
the dental office. Only after you know your
own range of emotions can you use this
skill to improve the relationships you have
with others.
The third skill set, empathy, or knowing
others, depends on your being able to
understand yourself first and knowing how
you react to certain situations or persons
BEFORE you can apply this skill to others.
Some people confuse empathy with
sympathy. That is because we most often
are focused on ourselves and how we feel.
Sympathy is us feeling sorry for someone
else. Note the concentration is on US. That is
not necessarily helpful when helping others.
Empathy is the ability to put ourselves in
someone else's shoes. This is an outward
focus, a focus on the other person. It is
a much deeper emotion than sympathy
because you have to have more knowledge
about how another person is feeling and the
circumstances that got them there.
I have two examples of how that is helpful
to a dentist becoming more empathetic and
more effective in dealing with others.
First is with your dental team. You can give
practical and emotional support to your team
in three areas.
1. Visibility-Do they feel they are invisible,
that no one knows them or what they do?
People react positively when you show
an interest in their life and situation. Do
Oregon Dental Association



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Membership Matters - March 2018

Nicaragua
New Members, Board Meeting Highlights
Events and Education
Molar Movement
Insider Results
ODA Member Benefit of the Month
Compliance Corner
Through the Loupes
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Dentistry
Dentists Take Bite Out of Opioid Epidemic
Service to Veterans
Dental Foundation of Oregon
Health Beyond Communities
Index of Advertisers
Classified Ads
Membership Matters - March 2018 - Intro
Membership Matters - March 2018 - cover1
Membership Matters - March 2018 - cover2
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 3
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 4
Membership Matters - March 2018 - Nicaragua
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 6
Membership Matters - March 2018 - New Members, Board Meeting Highlights
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 8
Membership Matters - March 2018 - Events and Education
Membership Matters - March 2018 - Molar Movement
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 11
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 12
Membership Matters - March 2018 - Insider Results
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 14
Membership Matters - March 2018 - ODA Member Benefit of the Month
Membership Matters - March 2018 - Compliance Corner
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 17
Membership Matters - March 2018 - Through the Loupes
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 19
Membership Matters - March 2018 - The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Dentistry
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 21
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 22
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 23
Membership Matters - March 2018 - Dentists Take Bite Out of Opioid Epidemic
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 25
Membership Matters - March 2018 - Service to Veterans
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 27
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 28
Membership Matters - March 2018 - Dental Foundation of Oregon
Membership Matters - March 2018 - Health Beyond Communities
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 31
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 32
Membership Matters - March 2018 - 33
Membership Matters - March 2018 - Classified Ads
Membership Matters - March 2018 - cover3
Membership Matters - March 2018 - cover4
Membership Matters - March 2018 - outsert1
Membership Matters - March 2018 - outsert2
Membership Matters - March 2018 - outsert3
Membership Matters - March 2018 - outsert4
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