“Run Forrest Run” – A Perspective on Leadership
By: Partha Mukherji, DDS
President, Fort Worth Academy of General Dentistry
“A good leader inspires others with confidence in him; a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves.”- Unknown
“A leader is someone who demonstrates what is possible.”- Philanthropist Mark Yarnell
I often refer to the aforementioned two quotes when pondering leadership. In a simple sense, leadership is often thought of as the action(s) by an individual(s) to fulfill a mission or goal for (and with) his or her members all the while hoping to reveal the potential for greatness within the members. For me, I look at leadership as a fluid process. Rhetorically, is leadership exhibited by an entity, an event, or perhaps even an experience? What or who unlocks confidence in yourself or the group one is leading?
The Harvard Business Review teaches that an effective leader has high emotional intelligence (measured by EQ: emotional quotient.) Emotional intelligence (EI) is twice as important as technical skills or IQ. Borrowing from the theme of Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” the 5 “infinity stones” of EI are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. These are skills that can be learned. I would add that whatever EI “stones” a leader may possess, he or she must keep the goals of the team in mind. A leader must always be a follower and follow other leaders. A leader should humbly accept he or she is still part of a greater team. A leader should also unselfishly provide a service of value to the members, unlock their potential, and as Yarnell mentioned: demonstrate what is possible.
It is an honor and privilege to currently serve as the President of the Fort Worth Academy of General Dentistry. The Fort Worth area continues to grow and many of our colleagues have called “Cowtown” their home. A unique challenge is we cover an expansive area and we are tasked to provide quality and affordable continuing education. In the current era, one can attend education courses almost every weekend either within a 3 hour drive or flight, or even learn in the comfort of their own home online. Our leadership team had set few simple goals for our organization this year which include a) providing 16-20 hours minimum of quality CE that will go towards members’ Fellowship or Mastership awards, b) promoting an environment for networking and fellowship, c) learning about the importance of service for our communities, and d) advocating for our profession. I am very fortunate and humbled by the team of leaders I get to work with. There are challenges and as mentioned before this leadership position is a fluid process. I am trying to learn and earn my 5 EI infinity stones. Our team leaders are a very diverse group not just personally, but in various stages of our professional career. We have board members, a national trustee with the AGD, and leaders that are outstanding clinicians, educators, not to mention full time moms, dads, spouses, practice owners, etc. This team put together the first ever Fort Worth AGD symposium that was held in March. Normally such a task would take at least 4-6 months to prepare. We were able to, along with the help of the TAGD offices, put together this very successful event in just 2.5 months. We are already planning to make this an annual event, and may even add another half or full day of continuing education, camaraderie and fun! This was only possible because of the team we have at the FWAGD, and our outstanding members. Without a doubt, we demonstrated what was possible. I am inspired by our team because we volunteer our time and efforts all in the name of service to our members. We are on pace to fulfilling our goals this year. Our organization will continue to build upon the foundation that was set before as well as create a framework for our future leaders.
On a personal level, it would be remiss of me to acknowledge only a few people as leaders that inspire me. I am inspired and blessed by the leadership of my parents, my sister (also a dentist and inventor), my faith, my teachers, my team I work with at my office, my patients, personal trainers, etc. I have had the chance to work with the Evidence-Based Dentistry Leaders Network at the ADA level and I just sit in awe at this group of clinicians, researchers, and educators. They work tirelessly to sift through the plethora of scientific literature so that we can provide evidence-based care for our patients. I am inspired by my colleagues who I teach with at the dental school. I am inspired by those in our profession who believe in pro bono work either in their office or in underprivileged parts of the country and the world through recurring mission trips. I am inspired by those who fail and keep getting back up. I am inspired by events or experiences that promote unity, altruism, and the ability to unlock the potential within.
There is a scene in the movie “Forrest Gump” where Forrest uses his speed to land a position with the Alabama football team. He returns a punt for a touchdown by running aimlessly and continues to run even after he scores. Few plays later, he scores another touchdown; however, this time the crowd, coaches and players guide him and tell him when to stop or what direction to run. We all get possession of the football of leadership from time to time. Sometimes we will fumble, sometimes we may score…but the journey to the end zone is impossible without being part of a team and the guidance from the very people you are trying to score for.
- Partha Mukherji, DDS
Shared by: Dr. Risé Martin, Regent District 15