S4 E05: Leadership Mindset for Dentists

Cultivating a leadership mindset to create change at work, at home and in your community.

Dental Sound Bites Season 4 Episode 5 with Dr. Adam Saltz

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Episode notes

Leadership Mindset for Dentists

Cultivating a leadership mindset to create change at work, at home and in your community.

Special Guest: Dr. Adam Saltz

“I really think a lot of it is just honing in on what your natural interests are, starting small with that, too, in a more realistic capacity, and then just growing from there, and your passions will lead you.”

Dental Sound Bites Season 4 Episode 5 with Dr. Adam Saltz

Dr. Adam Saltz

Show Notes

  • In this episode of Dental Sound Bites we're talking about the benefits of a leadership mindset and its impact in your work and your community.

  • We’re talking with our special guest, Dr. Adam Saltz, a periodontist from ME, managing editor for Decisions in Dentistry, a winner of ADA’s 10 Under 10 Award in 2023, president-elect of the Maine Dental Association, and also serves on the ADA’s New Dentist Committee.
  • Dr. Saltz talks about his leadership journey, and how he started by doing the things he found interesting and having his passions lead him. For him, his love of writing lead him to becoming an editor, and his with work with ASDA continued to his local dental society. His advice is to continue to grow by staying current and relevant.
  • Leadership is essential to dentists everyday, says Dr. Saltz, because being effective as a leader with your clinical team, and your admin team, helps you be successful outside the office.
  • Host Dr. ArNelle Wright had an opportunity to talk with current ADA-president Dr. Linda Edgar about her leadership journey, and her advice for dentists looking to embark on a leadership path. Trust, being results oriented, respecting peers and patients, staying positive are a few of the skills she sees in leaders.
  • Don’t miss the entire conversation with current ADA President Dr. Linda Edgar will be available as special bonus content on our ADA YouTube channel and on the ADA Member App on Tuesday, July 2, 2024.
  • Dr. Saltz says that the smartest move he made to get on a leadership track was to say yes to opportunities as they came, try new things, learn through mistakes, and staying open.
  • Dr. Wright talked about the strength of having empathy, awareness as a leader, the power of understanding what is needed at what time, and knowing when to even pass up an opportunity.
  • The best leadership advice Dr. Saltz received was “when you’re young and hungry, say yes so that you can be more selective later on.”
  • Dr. Saltz tells people that the best thing they can do to get involved at a local, state or national level is to just show up, start small, learn to listen, and be a good example to team.
  • In closing, Dr. Saltz’s final leadership mindset advice is to say yes, just show up and lean on your mentors. Dr. Wright shared her advice which are to do a great job, asking for opportunities, and making yourself available for opportunities.


View episode transcript

Wright: [00:00:00] What leadership skills are crucial for dentists? I'm Dr. ArNelle Wright, and in this episode, we're talking about the benefits of a leadership mindset and its impact in your work and your community.

Announcer: [00:00:15] From the American Dental Association, this is Dental Sound Bites, created for dentists by dentists. Ready? Let's dive right into real talk on dentistry's daily wins and sticky situations.

Wright: [00:00:30] Hey, hey, everybody. Before we get started, if you've been enjoying Dental Sound Bites, please help us by rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or wherever you are listening and leave us a review because this helps us continue to support dentistry and our great profession. 

Now today, my lovely cohost, Dr. Effie Ioannidou, she's not able to join us for the recording, but don't you worry. I am in good company. We've asked Dr. Adam Saltz to join me today. And he's going to be talking about cultivating a leadership mindset and creating change at work, at home, and in our communities. Welcome to the podcast, Dr. Saltz.

Saltz: [00:01:14] Yeah, it is so exciting to be here. I feel like you and I have seen each other in passing and it's just really fun to connect this way again.

Wright: [00:01:20] Yeah, I'm so excited. I'm so excited to see you. I'm so excited also to have you here today. Can you start by telling all of our listeners in the community a little bit more about yourself and the amazing work that you do?

Saltz: [00:01:32] Sure. So I grew up in Southern Maine. I'm currently a periodontist there as well. So I knew I always wanted to come home. So I went to dental school down in Southern Florida, went to residency in Texas. You know, got my fix of the South and then came back home. I was not made for the heat, maybe for a little bit. No, maybe for a little bit, but not for the long run.

So, yeah. So I came back home. I've been in practice now for four years and I hit the ground running. Yeah. I started peak COVID. So it was very, you know, interesting getting started, especially as a specialist, you know, where you had to go around and try to make personal relations with some of the dentists you work with and, you know, you drive around and sometimes it was a hello through the window or other times you just had to wait until they were more comfortable.

So it was, it was an interesting time to start, but still fun nonetheless.

Wright: [00:02:20] Oh, good. That was a wonderful, wonderful way to let everybody know who you are. So before we dive into today's topic, I do want you to share. I'm just going to throw a little curve ball, but I know that you can handle it.

Saltz: [00:02:31] Let's go.

Wright: [00:02:32] Where else have our paths crossed? Tell us about some of the amazing leadership work that you're doing on a special committee.

Saltz: [00:02:38] Yes. So, we have also crossed paths on the New Dentist Committee. Yeah. So I’m very fortunate to fill some big shoes. James Lee retired from the Chair last year. And so I stepped into that role for district one.

So I represent all of New England, the new dentists and the dental students there. And it's been really exciting to be involved in that group. People said, it's going to feel like family and it really did from the first meeting. Yeah.

Wright: [00:03:04] Yes. So shout out to NDC. I miss you. Hearts are with you.

Saltz: [00:03:08] I know. I was texting them before this. I was like, I'm going to be a little late for our engagement meeting. So they all say Hi.

Wright: [00:03:14] Okay. Good. Good. Good. Well, Hey, right back at you. Why don't we go ahead and jump in? So, you know, some people may think that they can't be a leader yet. Because they're just starting out or because they believe that they are too young or whatever the reason is, but it's really inspiring to see someone at your career stage. I think you said you started like peak COVID for years, making such big inroads. Can you tell us more about your leadership journey and whatever that looks like and means for you?

Saltz: [00:03:43] Sure. So I think when people think of leadership, they immediately think of a title, you know, president of this chair of that.

And it takes time to get to that point, nor should you ever be involved with something with that mindset, right? You should never just join something to seek a title. So what I've done is I've just started small in areas that interest me. 

So for example, outside of organized dentistry, I like writing. So I started writing for Decisions in Dentistry when I was in residency. And then with COVID, we had a little more downtime. So I wrote some more and I always knew that one day I had the potential to review or be an editor. So years later, years down the road, I've contributed in different capacities. And now I'm an editor for them.

So I really think a lot of it is just honing in on what your natural interests are, starting small with that too, in a more realistic capacity, and then just growing from there. And your passions will lead you.

Wright: [00:04:36] Ooh. Okay. Wait a second. Right there.

Saltz: [00:04:39] We have soundbite, soundbite.

Wright: [00:04:41] That was good. Okay. I'm going to grab that.

But, so I love the fact that you are a writer. I love expressing myself through writing. So I started a blog, Yeah, in dental school.

Saltz: [00:04:54] So after this, I'm going to tap you. You know, we're always looking for. Yeah, I know. Well, that's what some of my friends say too. They're like, Oh, you want to write? Well, now you have to. 

So, careful what you ask for. So yeah, we're always looking for authors, reviewers. We're also trying to expand on social media and have a bigger digital footprint. So, I felt that back when I was involved with ASDA and kind of building Contour and some of the publications there. You know, that that trend has been coming, and so we're just trying to continue to stay ahead of it.

Wright: [00:05:25] Yeah. So what I was gonna say is I too got my start through being an editor of a journal in my local dental school.

Yeah, that's what I was gonna say. So I started a blog like in dental school, and then some of my colleagues knew that I started that. And then they were like, Oh my gosh, you would be great for the editor position.

Had a blast with it. And I want it to kind of park there for a moment, if we could, because that's something that people wouldn't necessarily see as a leadership role.

And I love how you use, like you said, your natural interest to bring you full circle to kind of like what you actually love doing. Can you speak to that a little bit?

Saltz: [00:05:59] Sure. So with what I do as an editor, you know, I recruit authors. I have reviewers that work with us to make sure that before we run certain features or continuing ed pieces, that they're peer reviewed.

And so it may not seem like, you know, your typical, like we were saying before, president title position. But it's still important. You know, the dentist that I work with, they say, you know, Oh, I read this, you know, This is trending or, you know, This is a new technique that can be done. And that's still important to dentistry.

It's just not in the way people may traditionally see leadership as valuable, but it's still so important to what we do as clinicians.

Wright: [00:06:38] So staying current, you mentioned about that. So this is something that we as dentists have to do as well. And so this is a leadership skill, like, in my opinion. That you have to employ, right?

How do you all stay current on some of the things that you bring to your doctors who read your pieces?

Saltz: [00:06:58] So we're always looking for new techniques, new evidence. Everything we publish has to be backed by, you know, 

Wright: Evidence-based.

Saltz: Exactly. And so we're not just going to write on what's trending. We certainly have a number of authors or companies who reach out to us with the latest and greatest, but that's not always what may be tried and true.

And so sometimes we have to sit on that technology or that technique until there's enough information for us to safely publish that. And so I'm always just scrolling. So I know your other host, who I've met through some of the Perio circles. I love her.

Wright: [00:07:31] So really girl.

Saltz: [00:07:32] Yeah. And I actually attended one of her workshops at the AAP. And so it's just so cool. I'm a big fan of hers.

Wright: [00:07:39] Oh me too.

Saltz: [00:07:39] Next time she's on, tell her I said Hi.

Wright: [00:07:42] Oh, she's going to hear this.

Saltz: [00:07:43] And, and so anyway, you know, I just think it's so important to get that information out there. There's only so much you can learn in school and it's just important to stay current and relevant on different techniques and materials and products.

And you can't do that unless you're well read. 

Wright: Cool. Listen. 

Saltz:I know I'm just dropping them.

Wright: [00:08:03] You are. Okay. All right. So tell me why you feel leadership skills are essential in the dental industry.

Saltz: [00:08:11] It's your everyday. You know, if you're not effective as a leader with your clinical team, your admin team, you can't be successful outside the office.

So your ability to, you know, to be empathetic to those you work with, to your patients and you know, the circles that you create will only translate to your ability to be effective outside your practice.

Wright: [00:08:33] Yeah. Well, so, so good. So, okay. I want all of our listeners in the community to hear this opportunity that I recently had, to ask the current ADA president, Dr. Linda Edgar, about her leadership journey. Let's go ahead and take a listen.

Hi, Dr. Edgar. Thank you so much for taking time to be here with us today. 

Edgar: It's my pleasure. 

Wright: What leadership skills do you feel are essential for dentists to have?

Edgar: [00:09:00] Well, one of the things I think really helps you in leadership and as a practitioner is that you remember to listen.

You know, you've met leaders that you can't get a word in edgewise. Because they have to tell you how great they are. Well, people don't care how great other people are. They, you know, they mostly care how great they are. And your patient also wants you to listen to them. So you're leading in your practice as well as you're leading in whatever other role you have.

I think trust is really important that you do what you say you're going to do, no matter what, no matter how hard it is. And being results-oriented is kind of, you know, you know, I have said a little less conversation, a little more action is my mantra.

Wright: [00:09:46] Yes.

Edgar: [00:09:47] And respecting, like right now, those people on our Board, everybody has a right to their opinion and should be respected completely. Same with your patients. I mean, they may not be ready to do a procedure, so you have to respect that, you know. They may not be ready to spend that money. If you respect that, they'll come back. to you. 

So those are just a few of them. I think being positive is so important. I have that little thing I say, you know, remove the words Can't and Impossible from your vocabulary and you can get pretty much anything done. And those would be that.

There's also a book. Maxwell, you know, has written so many good books. So one is  21 Characteristics of a Leader, and he also wrote How Successful People Lead, so I just started reading a bunch of his books and summarizing them and trying to follow some of those principles.

Wright: [00:10:43] So many good insights. Thank you so much for sharing them with us, Dr. Edger. 

So, Dr. Saltz, what's your initial reaction to that? Like some of those leadership skills that our current ADA President shared.

Saltz: [00:10:54] Yeah. So I think listening is hugely overlooked, you know, taking a step back. That's probably one of the most important soft skills I learned right off the bat.

So when I first started, I was only seeing patients, you know, two and a half max, three days a week. I was really learning the flow of the practice. And one of my partners is now going on over 50 years of clinical practice. I would just, yeah, I would just listen to how he talks to people. And a lot of it was just taking a step back, hearing them out.

Because Perio for the most part is a long term game. So it's really about setting them up, making them comfortable. And so I think not interjecting too soon and just having, again, like she said, the respect too. Those compliment one another, you know, the respect to be able to listen. So I think they go hand in hand.

So it really hits home with that.

Wright: [00:11:42] Yeah. I was always taught that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason so that we can listen twice as much as we are talking.

Saltz: [00:11:49] Yeah, I get in trouble sometimes. So, you know, yeah, I say this like a profound, you know, like I've, I've waited on this, but I really, I really am conscious about not doing that.

Wright: [00:12:01] Yeah. Yeah. I love it. Well, I want to remind everybody, please do not miss my entire conversation with ADA president, Dr. Linda Edgar as Bonus content on the ADA's YouTube channel and on the ADA member app, and it's going to be available Tuesday, July 2nd. 

Now. Dr. Saltz, I asked Dr. Edgar this question, so now I'm curious to ask you, what do you feel was the smartest move that you made in order to get on a leadership track?

Saltz: [00:12:29] I think it was just jumping in, and I've said this before, you know, just being unafraid to say yes, to maybe try something that may have not led to somewhere I wanted to go, but using that as an opportunity to still meet people and even learn that that wasn't the right fit for me. So I think, you know, sometimes you have to learn through your mistakes or even just the opportunities that didn't unfold into the way you thought they would. So I think just being open and saying yes, at least initially, is important.

Wright: [00:13:01] I couldn't agree more. Definitely saying yes, for sure. Now, what would you say are some of the biggest leadership challenges in our profession? And, just finding out some of those areas where the leadership opportunity was not the right one for you. Could you throw in a little bit of how you navigated that as well? I think that would be beneficial to our listening community.

Saltz: [00:13:21] Sure. So for me, you know, as I first got involved in leadership as a younger dentist and as someone who had less clinical experience, real world organized dentistry experience, people look at you differently or may not take you as seriously at the table.

I'm pretty fortunate for the most part, the Maine Dental Association has welcomed me with open arms. We have a very progressive board, but sometimes beyond those walls, you know, just in your day to day, patients look at you differently. You know, I mean, if I'm clean shaven, I look like I'm 20. So, you know, the beard isn't just for looks. It's, you know, trying to not look like I'm 10 years old treating people. 

And so, and so I think, you know, just that initial challenge, just, you know, Hey, I'm still here. I may not have the background, but I want to be here. And, and you still do, I think a lot of people, you know, take for granted the work that they may have done through other student dental groups, or even just as part of the residency training and being a leader in their own offices.

And they may not feel as equipped because again, they don't have that title already. I mean, you know, it's like the millennial meme, you know, people are now expecting us to be, you know, 10 years experience coming out of college. Like you can't, you gotta make that up somewhere. Yeah. Yeah.

Wright: [00:14:32] I need the experience. So give it to me.

Saltz: [00:14:34] Yeah, exactly. So you got it. You got to start. You got to ask. And I think having that yes-minded attitude has really opened a lot of doors. And you know, closed some. I think for me, as I expanded my writing and editing portfolio, I've been approached by other journals or other publications asking me to write for them, which is great.

But, you know, there's a limit to that. And so there's only so much that I feel comfortable doing, you know, there's also kind of a conflict of interest of where you get involved with things. So navigating that as well. But, you know, just as an interest based, you know, there were some groups that, you know, I did some volunteer work and that just didn't, I didn't have the time to appropriately allocate to that at the time.

And when I do something, I go all out. And it's just, I didn't feel I could do as good of a job that was needed. So sometimes it's realizing, you know what, you may not be able to give it your all and that it's okay not to be the person at that time to take that. You know, recognizing that maybe someone can do a better job for you at the time, even if it's something you may be interested in.

Wright: [00:15:38] Okay. We got to jump into this because

Saltz: [00:15:40] I know I said like five different things. It was follow the leader. Yeah.

Wright: [00:15:45] Initially, you mentioned something about being clean shaven, and I kind of want to go back to that because all I thought about when you said that was awareness, and awareness is almost like listening to me.

Would you agree? Like, it's one of those skill sets in leadership that's a little overlooked. It's like, As the person in the leadership role, if you will, oftentimes we have an awareness of everyone else's strengths, their weaknesses, their challenges. But what about us, the leader?

Saltz: [00:16:12] Oh yeah.

Wright: [00:16:13] What are your thoughts about that?

Saltz: [00:16:14] And that's probably one of the biggest challenges is looking on yourself. And realize, you know, and being, you know, aware of how you carry yourself, of how you command a room and, you know, how you listen with others, interact with others.

Wright: Like your mannerisms.

Saltz: Yah. And the better you are with that, I think the more effective you can be as a communicator, but it takes time.

You know, I'm very, I'm very handsy, you know, I have gestures and I'm a hugger, you know. I engage, you know. And so sometimes it's really learning to draw back, you know. I'll have some patients who come in and I can tell they don't want to talk to me. You know, they want, they're very matter of fact. And I have others who, you know, they're going through it and they're looking for a hand to hold, you know, someone to be there for them.

And again, a lot of that I think is innate, but some of it can take time to really to look into.

Wright: [00:17:06] So we have talked about empathy in so many ways without even, like, directly saying it. We've talked about awareness, communication. Another thing that I think would also be beneficial to, especially our new dentists that are listening, is knowing when to pass up an opportunity.

One thing you said that's so profound and that I love, even though I definitely say Yes. Like I'm, I've been in my Yes Season. No lie. But like, knowing

Saltz: [00:17:31] I'm going to start using that.

Wright: [00:17:32] Yes, I've been in my Yes Season. But one of the things that you said that's so profound is knowing when, like, you have the time to allocate to things. Like I've been recently scaling back and saying like, Oh my gosh, now I'm in the season where I feel like the old fogey in the room that's like, Oh, I want to elevate this person. Actually, I know a person who has this skill set. Let me bring him or her to the table. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Saltz: [00:17:56] Oh, I think that's the most fun part of it. You know, so when I came on to the NDA board of directors, I was probably one of two or three people, you know, that was considered a new dentist or maybe even one of two.

And now we almost have about half of our board who are going to be new dentists. Or at least approaching that. And our New Dentist Committee has grown. And it's really, you know, the person that we have appointed to the board for vice president, she's also a new dentist and she's someone who I just have a wonderful relationship with. Hannah Patel if you're watching.

But it's just been really fun to work with her and see her grow. And I think being able to tap on others and, you know, really show them their value, and sometimes they don't see that. It's really one of the most rewarding parts when you can say, you know what, my time is up. I think it's now the appropriate time and that's how it should be.

You know, it should be a stepping stone into another role or bigger leadership path. And you want to be able to constantly involve and allow others to do the same. And I think historically, you know, you hear the stigma of people getting caught up in the same cycle. And I think we're positively changing that narrative to allow people to grow.

Wright: [00:19:06] Yeah, I agree. I always say, like, the leader should be always looking for, and it sucks to be like looking for your replacement, but looking for someone who you can pass the baton to. You've had your moment. I used to run track, so I make a whole bunch of like, you know, track parallels, but like someone to pass the baton to. And I totally agree. It's very rewarding for me when I'm like, Hey, I want to mention this person's name, you know? 

So, okay. Well, tell us what was the biggest leadership advice that you've received and who did you lean on for encouragement and support for all things leadership?

Saltz: [00:19:43] So speaking of the Yes Season, actually the best advice that I've gotten, I was at a leadership training for a Perio group.

And one of the leaders, mentors, at the time had said, when you're young and hungry, say yes so you can be more selective later on. And that couldn't be more true. And I think that's why I'm also in my Yes Season. You know, I have the ability to do that. I've started to be a little bit more sensitive, you know, personally, I'm getting married at the end of the year, trying to dedicate time.

But I think right now, you know, I'm young, I'm hungry. I want to get out there. I want to do what I can. So that way later on, I can say no more comfortably. Or like we were saying before, you can elevate someone into that position. 

And I've seen, you know, growing up, my dad was a dentist in the Portland area. He was moved through the chairs. You know, so he was the past president of the MDA. So it's kind of exciting this weekend I'm being installed and he's going to be up there with me. So, that's just kind of a full circle moment. I remember growing up and doing that with him. So I've been, always been surrounded by good leaders and good mentors.

And I think, you know, even through residency, another profound, you know, mentor for me was Dr. Brian Mealy. He was my program director at the time and he and I have stayed in touch. And, you know, I just went back to speak to the residents and it's just, I don't think it ever hurts to have people in your corner.

You know, it's such a small community that no matter what, you may not be their best friend, but you don't have to not like them or be their enemy. Right. You know, so I think that as you go through the motions and you get more involved, like we're not here to take people down. And I think sometimes the more you go through things, the more politics becomes, you know, the bureaucracy comes to the forefront.

And I think if we can just really focus on, you know, the mission and what matters and what we're all trying to collectively do and make this a better place, then we can be more effective.

Wright: [00:21:35] Agreed.

Saltz: [00:21:36] Not to get like too, you know.

Wright: [00:21:37] No, you can be, you can be too whatever.

Saltz: [00:21:40] Let's go for it. Let's go.

Wright: [00:21:44] We'll be right back.

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Wright: [00:22:36] Welcome back to Dental Sound Bites. We are having a conversation about cultivating a leadership mindset and creating change at work, at home, and in our communities with Dr. Adam Saltz.

So, well, tell me what's your favorite bit of advice to give someone looking to cultivate a leadership mindset and to get more involved in state, local, and national leadership.

Saltz: [00:23:01] I would just show up. I would ask and show up. So, you know, sometimes it's more difficult to, you know, to do that. It's intimidating, you know, some, especially at the local level, sometimes you have the same few people who have been there for 20, 30 plus years, and now you're going to be the younger dentist in the room.

So if there's someone else you can go to that meeting with, or another local dentist who may be in your age, who's already involved, don't be afraid to reach out to them. I think people, you know, just, they get intimidated or they, you know, they're not secure enough in what their interests are and they don't ask. And so it's all just about asking. Because people want to help. And I think people just don't see that in return.

Wright: [00:23:41] I love the fact that you said people want to help. I lean heavily on mentors, colleagues, even past faculty members, anybody that I just aspire to be like. So earlier you mentioned, like, listening to other providers, even within your practice, how they speak to patients. So really knowing when to pick our battles. That's a big one for me. It’s because there are some times where patients will say things and you're like, wait, well, why are you saying that? You know what I mean? So, like, just knowing when to respond, not only patients, even with team members, because throughout the day we have a lot to navigate.

And I feel like I'm in this season right now. It's a strange period for me where I'm focusing so much on the decisions that I'm making in our day to day. So, like, how I'm leading the team, and for some reason I just can't separate it. So like knowing which battles to pick. My mom always says, you got to know when to roll them and when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run. It's a song. 

But, so that's some advice that I really, really hold on to very, very heavily. And another one that I heard from a podcast when I was in dental school, I say this all the time, it's understanding like you're in your, you have learning years, and then you also have earning years. So a lot of people, once we get out of dental school, we want to go and we earn, you know, we understand that we have to make money and, you know, make a living.

We have bills and debt and everything, but I have been really immersed in the learning years. So like that first 10 years, just getting a feel and navigating dentistry, learning how to be not only a clinician, but a leader of my team. A leader of myself, you know what I mean? So like, I can at least then I can focus on the other stuff like later on.

Saltz: [00:25:27] Yeah. And I think they go in tangent. I mean, even in your learning years, look at what you've already done. Right. And so, if you're learning, but you're still able to use what you're learning to your, you know, to how you practice, to how you lead, that's how you're going to be more effective when you get to those earning years.

Wright: [00:25:44] Yes, sir. Yes, sir. So, okay. Tell us what listeners can do to take on more leadership roles and bring leadership in their work and in their communities.

Saltz: [00:25:54] So with respect to work, I started as an associate. So for the first few years, I had a smaller team I worked with and I evolved more into a partner role.

And with that, you know, the responsibility gets, it gets a little bigger. You know, you start to, you know, have to navigate certain challenges in and outside of the office. And, you know, and so I think with that, it's just the confidence that comes with that too.

And starting small, as I mentioned earlier, I think we get so excited. You know, we're so energized to get out there and that sometimes we try to get off more than we can chew. And I remember like in my first six months, my partners, like, pulled me back and they're like, you know, your presence is there, but you got to dial it back a little bit, you know? And so I had to learn naturally just being someone who, like, wants to come in, take charge, work with others like this is not yet my place.

And so, you know, to, and that may be a word listening comes in, right. You know, just learning to not interject and, you know, this is not my show. Right? And so making sure that others felt heard and that I wasn't overstepping my place. I think you just kind of learn with time. And it's nice to have people to say, you know, stop and reevaluate.

And then outside of that, I think again, just starting small. Like the expectation that you're going to come out and have, you know, a titled role, I think it should just be off the table. I think anyone who's title seeking or oriented in that way, isn't going to be successful and isn't going to feel valued in what they're doing.

For me, if you find something you're really passionate about and let that drive you, and that's what I tell students I work with, you know, it's like, if you're showing up to me third or fourth year asking for a letter of rec and, you know, you just have a, b, c, d, e, f, g on there. And you have nothing that's really, you know, you didn't rise to the ranks of one or really put your time into one. You can sense that you're just checking the boxes, right? Whereas if you really dedicate that time, you will naturally become a leader in that lane and you're going to like doing it, too. And I think that that prevents burnout, you know?

Wright: [00:27:59] Ooh, we've just touched on so many things like wellness. Yeah. 

Saltz: [00:28:02] Where are we going next?

Wright: [00:28:03] Yeah, I know, I know. Wellness. Like these are things that they're, it's all intertwined. You know what I mean? Yeah. Okay. So what's a small way that we can lead more in our day to day lives?

Saltz: [00:28:18] Just being a good example for others. You know, if that means you're going to be the one to take out the trash. I can't tell you when I did that for my team, you know, I got the looks like, what are you doing? You're the doctor. And it's like, you know, those small examples make such a difference. And so I think showing up as a leader and even the smallest ways, you know, you get, you start to hone in on how important that is when it gets magnified on a larger stage.

Wright: [00:28:45] I'm really big into systems and being organized.

Saltz: [00:28:47] I love a good system. 

Wright: [00:28:49] Listen, oh my gosh, me too. I'm like, oh my gosh, the system is necessary. Like, so if I have a system going, I feel like it creates a sense of calm for me. I'm very systematic. And so when things are chaotic, I'm like, ah, I need my system, you know? So I think for me in my day to day, just making sure that I'm, like, organized, especially in my practice.

Saltz: [00:29:11] Yeah, it's funny. One of my partners is from Germany and he always talks about systems and machines and efficiency. And so I'm like, I mean, he is a phenomenal surgeon, but just like the execution of workflows and certain things that is, like you said, I mean, it just makes your life so much easier and your teams.

Wright: [00:29:31] Can you tell us a little bit of how y'all execute on those systems and make sure that they're always, like, in motion? Because oftentimes, like in our day to day in clinical practice, things can, like, fall by the wayside. And sometimes if you're focused on, like, the patient care aspect, which we as clinicians, that's kind of where we need to be focused. But there are some times where for me, I can't shut it off. I'm like, well, no, the system failed. So now I need to focus on the system and then I'll get to the patient care. Can you, like, help me? Coach me for a moment?

Saltz: [00:29:59] Yeah. Well, I think a lot of it comes to finding the right team. I think we were focused for a little bit on just finding people, especially during COVID when we had workforce issues and we still do. I mean, we're not saying we don't have workforce issues, but really finding people who want to be there, who are going to, like you said, do a good job and they're happy to be there.

Because we'll have days, even though right now, and I'm going to jinx myself by saying this, we're like pretty appropriately staffed. We'll have days and you know, someone's sick, someone's on vacation. And now someone who typically works, you know, with the front office with patients, is now cross trained to do the backend. So we're always trying to allow those members of our team to grow in the areas they're interested in. So, you know, we've had some who started off as a patient coordinator who now do treatment coordination for us and by allowing them to do, you know, roles beyond what they're traditionally, you know, would conceive or be a part of, I think it just allows the system to work, even when certain things may fail.

So I think the cross training element or just allowing them to go beyond where, you know, you may think the role would be, just has allowed us to not have that system fail when certain elements of it may not hold up.

Wright: [00:31:13] Yeah, that's called calibration. One word.

Saltz: [00:31:15] Calibration. There you go.

Wright: [00:31:17] So let's do a recap before we head out of this episode of the top three things that someone can do right now in order to get more involved.

Saltz: [00:31:26] Say yes.

Wright: [00:31:27] Okay,

Saltz: [00:31:28] Just show up.

Wright: Uh huh.

Saltz: And lean on one of your mentors.

Wright: Oh, love that.

Saltz: What are your three?

Wright: [00:31:35] Ooh.

Saltz: [00:31:36] I know I took your Yes Season. So, you know, we can both use that.

Wright: [00:31:40] It's yours now. My three would be, do a great job at whatever it is that you do. So if someone gives you an opportunity, make sure that when you do say yes, you do a great job.

Saltz: [00:31:53] I like that.

Wright: [00:31:53] Another one would be asked for opportunities. Like put your hat in the ring. I feel like that's something that people do not do often enough. We kind of sit back and like, wait for the sky to fall. So I think putting your hat in the ring. Ask for opportunities. Making yourself available. That would be another one.

And then a third one would be, I'm going to piggyback on yours. Showing up. Like being, making yourself available for those opportunities.

Saltz: [00:32:19] I'm ready.

Announcer: [00:32:23] On the next Dental Sound Bites:

Wright: [00:32:25] Can't-miss expert insights for building a thriving dental team and practice, even in the face of staff shortages.

Wright: Is there anything else that you'd like to add that we may not have covered?

Saltz: [00:32:40] I think it's just, you know, the importance of recognizing too, how fun this is. Right. You know, just getting involved. It's so much more. I was talking about this to a patient today. They're like, you know, you're going to Bar Harbor this week. What are you doing that for? And it's, it's just how rewarding it is to be able to know that the work that you're doing is going to make a difference, not just for your patients, but for your community. And you know, it's challenging at times, like, don't get me wrong, but it's still at the end of the day, it just makes what you do all the more rewarding, all the more fun.

So as you start to get involved, do things that make you happy. And that's my drop the mic moment.

Wright: [00:33:17] I love that. Well, Oh, again, this has been so wonderful having you here on Dental Sound Bites. Can you tell all of our listeners where they can find out more about you, where they can follow you online? Tell us all the things.

Saltz: [00:33:30] Yes. So I retired my Facebook in 2017. So if you find me there, no, you didn't. I just don't use it to be honest. I'm an Instagram man. So I love my Instagram. Yeah. So my Instagram is mainelygums. It's as punny as it sounds. So it's Mainely like the state, M-A-I-N-E-L-Y gums. I know, I know.

Wright: [00:33:52] Oh my gosh. That's amazing. Yeah, I love that.

Saltz: [00:33:57] And then, I also, if you're ever in Maine, I teach spin, so I'm happy to have you in class. So if you’re ever up and you don't want to have your tooth pulled, you can come to my class instead.

Wright: [00:34:06] Oh, that’s amazing. Aw. Well, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. I am so glad to see your face and to hear from you.

Saltz: [00:34:16] Oh, of course. This was so much fun. Are you going to be in New Orleans? Okay. Big hug coming your way. Yeah. Big hug coming.

Wright: [00:34:25] Yay. Okay, good. Yeah, I'll definitely be there.

Saltz: [00:34:27] Awesome.

Wright: [00:34:28] And please remember, if you like this episode, share it with a friend. Then be sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever you are listening so that you can get the latest episodes. You can also rate it, write a review, and follow us on social media.

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Announcer: [00:34:54] Thank you for joining us. Dental Sound Bites is an American Dental Association podcast. You can also find this show, resources, and more on the ADA member app and online at ADA.org/podcast.