Leadership in the Dental Profession: Know Yourself

November 8, 2017 Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

For the student of the Pankey Philosophy, ‘Know Yourself’ is a familiar phrase. Dr. Pankey spoke often about understanding your own temperament, circumstances, and objectives. Those are the things that are usually known to us and the people around us.

Valuing the Deep Structure of Ourselves

Modern psychology might call that the surface structure of our thinking, feeling, and behavior. Knowing these things is critical to our decision making and moment-to-moment activities. Dr. Pankey was also a student of and eventually a master of the deep structure that is composed of our emotions and the memories from our life’s experiences that fuel those emotions.

Those emotions and memories are less well known to us and their impact is less appreciated by us. However, they are very powerful drivers of our current ways of thinking, feeling, deciding, and experiencing the world around us. The deep structure is the enormous part of the iceberg that is hidden underwater.

That part can represent great strength, endurance, and possibility. It can also be very unknown, dangerous, and limiting. How well we understand ourselves and what we do with that understanding will determine how much we limit our lives or whether we approach the limits of our human possibilities.

Using Personal Insight to Develop Leadership Skills

Twenty years ago, I did not know myself very well. I knew about my surface structure and very little about my deep structure. That knowledge got a huge jumpstart in a leadership workshop with Brian DesRoches, Phd.

Brian artfully blended the use of assessments, the teaching of contemporary brain science and modern psychology, as well as small group experiences to help each of us deepen and broaden our understanding of ourselves.

Subsequently, my professional coach has helped me to continue that development. Just as we rely on superb clinical teachers to develop our clinical skill sets, this kind of work requires the expertise of a trusted professional. That kind of helping relationship provides insights, observations, expertise, experience, and accountability.

Each of us needs this to see ourselves as we truly are. In my view, it is necessary to have professional expertise to grow your understanding of yourself. Knowing yourself is the foundation of change. You can’t start soon enough. There are no substitutes. It requires collaboration, intention, and patience.

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About Author

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Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. Edwin A. McDonald III received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Economics from Midwestern State University. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. McDonald has completed extensive training in dental implant dentistry through the University of Florida Center for Implant Dentistry. He has also completed extensive aesthetic dentistry training through various programs including the Seattle Institute, The Pankey Institute and Spear Education. Mac is a general dentist in Plano Texas. His practice is focused on esthetic and restorative dentistry. He is a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute. Mac also lectures at meetings around the country and has been very active with both the Dallas County Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Currently, he is a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Business at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching. With Dr. Joel Small, he is co-founder of Line of Sight Coaching, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership and coaching skills that improve the effectiveness, morale and productivity of their teams.

2 thoughts on “Leadership in the Dental Profession: Know Yourself

  1. Mac – great article of encouragement to “dive a little deeper” to better understand yourself and become more self-actualizing. Then opportunities abound to stay on the Growth and Development Track, Personally and Professionally; we are called to become more aware of our “balance” at that level too! Rich

    1. Thanks Rich! You are and have been a fabulous guide for so many in their pursuit of understanding themselves and others. Thank you for all that you do…

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