2 May 2018  •  Practice Management  •  4min read By  • Colin Campbell

The philosophy of leading a dental team

Zoe Close from Practice Plan speaks to Colin Campbell, oral surgeon and founder of The Campbell Academy, about leadership within a dental practice…

Strong leadership is one of the key non-clinical skills that can drive a practice to grow and help to ensure profitability. However, it’s not necessarily emphasised during dental training and can be something that many struggle with. Bearing that in mind, I spoke to Colin Campbell, founder of The Campbell Clinic and The Campbell Academy, about what a good leader looks like in a dental practice.

Zoe Close (ZC): How would you define leadership?

Colin Campbell (CC): I believe that leadership is setting an example through actions and behaviours, which inspire others to achieve greater things than they would otherwise achieve without those examples.

It’s interesting that leadership has become fashionable as a word and a concept where it was not previously so. What has been interesting is that I have never been asked to lecture on leadership before, yet this year I have been asked four times. This doesn’t represent the development of me, it represents the development in people’s understanding and the importance of leadership, particularly in our commercial and clinical environment. I do not perceive myself as being a leader per se, just someone who is prepared to talk about what he sees and the concepts of leadership.

ZC: What qualities do you think someone needs in order to be a good leader?

CC: The people that I look at and that I admire as leaders are those who ‘walk their talk’ and live their life in an authentic way which represents their beliefs. These are not necessarily people whom I agree with but they’re people who are leaders through the example that they set on a day-to-day basis and year-by-year.

ZC: What does good leadership in a dental practice look like?

CC: I believe that good leadership in a dental practice is shown by people who are able to balance the ethical and moral philosophical aspects of healthcare (which are the fundamental basis of healthcare), with the necessity to achieve financial success and stability to be able to re-invest in their businesses and their teams for the benefits of their patients and for society as a whole. This differs from good leadership in the dental profession overall as, in my opinion, many leaders in the profession do not work at the level of practice, therefore we are lacking in examples of good leadership in the dental practice arena.

ZC: Are there any real examples of good leadership in dentistry that you’ve come across?

CC: I have seen many examples of good leadership in dentistry but the majority of those leaders work within a salaried hospital or organisational environment. Examples of leaders that I have come across or that have inspired me are maxillofacial surgeons that I have worked with (certainly not all but one in particular), hospital practitioners and academics such as Professor John Gibson in Glasgow and David and Brenda Nelson who founded and developed Cranmore, which was certainly for a time, in my opinion, the best practice in the UK.

ZC: Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic.


Colin will be talking about ‘I and We, the philosophy of leading a dental team’ in the Dental Business Theatre, programmed by Practice Plan, at the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show from 3.25pm – 4.10pm on Friday, May 18th. For more information or to see the full speaker schedule visit: www.practiceplan.co.uk/events

About Colin:

Colin has been placing dental implants since 1998 and has taught thousands of dental professionals in one format or another. Colin is a specialist in oral surgery and runs The Campbell Clinic – a multidisciplinary specialist clinic in Nottingham with 13 clinicians. In the past Colin has been active politically in dentistry and also an expert witness for both civil, criminal and GDC compliance cases.

About Zoe:

Zoe Close is Sales Manager at Practice Plan, the leading provider of practice-branded dental plans. Zoe has 30 years’ experience in the dental sector, including Group Business Manager for a corporate group, Dental Nurse, Head Receptionist and Practice Manager. Practice Plan partners with over 1,500 dental practices and offers a wide range of business support services. For more information call 01691 684165 or visit: building.practiceplan.co.uk/


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