An Interesting Review on Soft Skills and Dental Practice
Soft skills are skills used to communicate, solve problems, lead and think creatively. During hygiene and dental school, the concentration is on academic knowledge, though soft skills are very important and useful not only in professional life, but in one’s personal life as well. In a review on soft skills and dental practice published March 2015 in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research the authors examine soft skills in career success.1
Soft skills have been shown to increase confidence, professionalism, coordination, friendliness and optimism. Communication is an important soft skill. Practitioners should be good listeners as well as verbally communicate clearly expressing their needs and/or concerns with patients and colleagues. Speak slowly and politely, ask questions and avoid gestures when communicating with colleagues and patients. Active listening is also a very important and intricate part of communication skills. Look into the eyes of the person who is speaking, this will keep both people engaged and help with understanding.
Soft skills also include, strong work ethic, teamwork, time management skills, problem solving skills, flexibility and adaptation. Soft skills are related to an individual’s EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) which includes personality traits such as friendliness, optimism, social graces language, personal communication, contact, personal habits, and body language.
Soft skills can make you stand out as a leader, one’s ability to get along well with others and displaying a positive attitude are crucial factors for success. Soft skills are related to financial success as well, the authors state “Success and growing wealth or income is dependent on friendliness and optimism. Social graces language and personal communication and contact, personal habits and body language.”
Tips for continued self-development and soft skills:
- Remain flexible and open-minded, frank and motivated
- Review your day to day needs
- Create goals and objectives and try to accomplish them.
- Schedule weekly appointments (with leaders) to understand your progress.
The authors concluded by stating “These soft skills help to organize, plan and manage, and track changes during the course of the growing dental practices. However, understanding of the soft skills in practice management, its simplicity and complex contexts of practice is essential. It is really helpful to all practitioners to grow their practices using soft skill.”
Does your practice address soft skills and encourage self-development? If not, would you like to see this type of leadership implemented? Do you self-assess your soft skills, to better understand areas needed for improvement?
- Dalaya M, Ishaquddin S, Ghadage M, Hatte G. An interesting review on soft skills and dental practice. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015;9(3):ZE19-ZE21. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2015/12725.5719