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ASDA’s National Leadership Conference: Emotional Intelligence

Posted on Dec 03, 2018 09:42 am by Sasha Asthana, ASDOH ’22

After a whirlwind of a weekend in Chicago and a restful Thanksgiving holiday, I’ve had ample time to reflect on ASDA’s 2018 National Leadership Conference. In just a few days in snowy Chicago, I fully understand what ASDA stands for and what leadership really means. NLC helps to bridge the gap between hard and soft skills to ensure that we’re all well-rounded leaders in the profession of dentistry.

The weekend long event had many breakout sessions that covered various topics regarding leadership, advocacy, chapter management, personal development, and career planning. While I went to an equal spread of these sessions, I’d like to focus on a topic that was covered in multiple capacities: emotional intelligence.

Dr. Brad Guyton attended the Texas A&M College of Dentistry in Dallas and now practices in Colorado. He cited John C. Maxwell’s words, “leadership is influence: nothing more, nothing less.” Emotional intelligence at work drives the way we, as future dentists, will practice and lead others. Dr. Guyton described the five categories of emotional intelligence at work: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skill. Still sounds interesting? Keep reading below!

Self Awareness: This is simply recognizing your emotions and drives as it affects you and everyone around you. Self awareness goes hand in hand with self-confidence, self-assessment, and even self-deprecating sense of humor. It is crucial that we are aware of who we are and what our impact is on our relationships. This is the first thing to start with when achieving emotional intelligence.

Self Regulation: This can be defined as the ability to redirect disruptive impulses and moods. To be self regulatory would mean having the ability to suspend judgement, to think before acting. Being able to self regulate your moods give you the openness to change. This comfort with ambiguity will allow you to better serve your patients and lead your team.

Motivation: Beyond money or status, we must identify our motivations and then translate them to our team. By setting expectations, holding others accountable, and providing recognition, we can exemplify a strong drive to achieve, even in the face of failure.

Empathy: Otherwise known as compassion, empathy is simply understanding others feelings from their perspective. Practicing empathy every single day is a great service to those around us, allowing us to better understand others and their emotional makeup. Cross-cultural sensitivity is important as a dentist-but also as a human!

Social Skill: The final component of emotional intelligence is the ability to form social networks. Essentially, you want to be someone that others want in their lives. To be proficient in managing relationships and building networks allows you to find a common ground, build rapport, and be effective at leading change.Ultimately, we need to be aware of the ways you handle yourself and how well you work with others. Only then can we truly become the best possible healthcare provider we can be. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, integrate other’s perspectives into your decisions, and not only work well with others but work through them. Emotional intelligence is not something that can be learned in three days in Chicago. It’s not even something that can be mastered during the four years of dental school. Emotional intelligence is awareness, and it begins with us, everyday. My weekend at NLC not only sparked my #ASDAFever, but it provided me with the tools I need to become the best version of myself I can be. Sasha Asthana, ASDOH ’22

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