Some of us look to historical or business leaders for inspiration when it comes to developing our own leadership style. However, why not draw parallels between optometry staff management and the TV show everyone's talking about this week: Game of Thrones?
An effective leader responds to the needs of their people while fully utilizing the resources they have to grow. From autocratic to laissez-faire, the type of leadership that works well for your practice may not work well for everyone.
Let the strong characters of Game of Thrones help guide you towards the style that fits your optometry practice best. Maybe you're currently thinking like Sansa, but need to take action like Jon?
Which Game of Thrones Leader Are You?
Sansa Stark: Facilitative
Like the rest of the House of Stark, Sansa is extremely loyal to the people of the north. As shown in the most recent seasons, Sansa revived Winterfell from years of abandonment and helped unite the north once more. She prioritizes the realistic, everyday logistics of running a kingdom instead of worrying about the wider, more long-term picture.
A leader like Sansa runs their practice with the staff's and patients' best interests in mind, but sometimes loses sight of longer-term business growth. They might need to begin relying on help from advisors and experts to figure out how to attract new patients, run marketing campaigns, and develop a 5-year plan.
Jon Snow: Democratic
As he's mentioned many times before, Jon doesn't want the throne or glory. He's respected by the Night's Watch, the North, and Daenerys because of his integrity and strength. His people named him King in the North precisely because he had to use hard work and merit to gain positions of authority. That's why he's a democratic leader who is influenced by the opinions of the people who elected him.
If Jon were leading an optometry practice, he'd probably hold regular staff meetings to discuss optimizations and email surveys to his patients to encourage a feedback loop. Although surveys and check-ins are beneficial, it can be hard to make a final decision if you're inundated with opinions from multiple sources. Democratic leaders have to work on making difficult choices based on what they feel is correct, not necessarily the popular vote.
Daenerys Targaryen: Transformational
Throughout Dany's time in Essos, she built herself up from being a pawn for her brother to a feared and respected queen with many allies. Dany's story, benevolence, and steadfast mission inspires change and empowers her people, which makes her a transformational leader. She's made her purpose clear: to rid the world of tyrants. All of her followers are those who believe in her message by their own free will. However, there is little room for movement when it comes to loyalty. You're either with her or you're against her.
Practice owners like Dany have big ideas for change and want to make a difference in the eyecare industry to reduce suffering for their patients. This means that they might be very particular when choosing their staff, but may not always listen to more practical reasoning if it conflicts with their mission. Transformational leaders would do well with associate ODs or office managers who can ensure that the everyday workflow is moving along successfully. That way, the owner can work on being the inspirational face of the practice.
Cersei Lannister: Autocratic
Finally, we come to our favorite villainous leader, Cersei. Cersei doesn't listen to the opinion or advice of others unless it completely aligns with her best interests and personal goals. She says what she means and demands what she needs, so there's no guesswork. Although, she can certainly be impulsive (see: almost poisoning her own son) and hasn't earned the respect of her people, she is a veteran leader.
If you're currently the only one making final decisions in your practice, experiencing high turnover among your (somewhat scared) staff, and not conducting monthly or even quarterly check-ins with your employees, you might be like Cersei. However, you probably are doing everything you can to grow your practice's patient base and revenue, which is a good start. Begin your transformation into a more benevolent leader by taking a step back and delegating decisions, outsourcing the parts of the business you aren't an expert in, and listening to your staff's suggestions.
If you're a Cersei looking to be more of a Jon, read our Staff Management Ebook on how to support your staff for success.