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23rd June 2015

Well Led? – Part 1

The new way of looking at things that started in April, as detailed in CQC’s Fundamental Standards, is generally no different to the old way. We still need the same policies, procedures and management. However, less onus on box-ticking and more responsibility for collecting evidence. However, there is one subtle difference in that CQC will want to see greater accountability at the level of Leadership.

Under the big umbrella of ‘Is your practice well-led?’ lie a series of questions that you will need to answer. Unless you are part of a Dental Corporate then accountability for ‘leadership’ tends to stop at the owner, principal or partners involved in running the practice. CQC now has the right to question whether you areup to it!

Am I a good Leader?

Whilst most people believe that management of a practice is purely hierarchical and peaks at the tip of a pyramid with the practice principal(s), it is more complicated than that. Management is a ladder with people at different levels, whilst leadership is a flat field with access at all points around it. A leader’s main job is to hold the vision for a practice – what it is, where it’s going, what the standards are and so on. They need to keep this vision and communicate it to people at all levels, whilst accepting (without judgement) criticism from everyone involved – tough job!

Key questions

Here is one of the awkward questions that need answering, with some tips.

  • How does the leadership and culture reflect the vision and values, encourage openness and transparency and promote delivery of high quality care? - Are candour, openness, honesty and transparency and challenges to poor practice the norm? Basically, don’t keep secrets! You need to be talking ‘with’ and not ‘to’ staff. Encouraging and maintaining good communications between all levels within the practice is the key.


  • Hold regular practice meetings where discussion is encouraged.
  • Attend meetings as the principal – it’s not just the manager’s job to be there.
  • Tell people about the problems of running a practice, not just the good things that happen.


  • Get defensive if a member of staff criticises you – ask what makes them think that.
  • Discipline someone for not doing something if you haven’t told them why it needs doing.
  • Hide your reasons for making changes.

Be a ‘person’ and not a ‘problem’

So many times you hear chatter in the staff room which centres on the ‘boss’ being a pain the neck! “He asked me to do (this) and I haven’t got time!” “She’s done (what) with the autoclave!” “I’d just got the diary sorted and they booked in another patient!”

To understand a lot of your actions, staff need to see you as a person. Not necessarily best buddies, but as a human being and not just the ‘boss’. If not, they are more likely to see you as someone who just interferes in their job for no other reason than making things awkward. It is so much better to see you as a real person and understand some of the problems you have to put with than see you as one of their problems!

Dr John Shapter – QCS Expert Dental Contributor

Topics: Dentists

Sarah Riley

Senior Customer Care Executive

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