By Dr. Gregory Hopkins
We have, as optometrists, so many opportunities to display leadership! Take a look at the “word cloud” pictured above. Perhaps you would like for those characteristics to describe your habitual demeanor in the exam room with patients, during staff meetings, teaching students/residents, managing your household, raising your children (if applicable), etc.? Leadership is certainly an important topic—a google search will net >151,000,000 books on the subject (and counting). Leadership is the process of dealing with change, and our world is changing at an ever-accelerating pace. Certainly, we all do our best to manage this change, but there is a difference between leadership and management. We need both processes to succeed, and all of us have a distinct set of strengths and values to bring to the table. Let the unique reasons “WHY” you practice optometry drive “HOW” you set the culture of your practice. In the end, “WHAT” you do in your office reflects on your beliefs regarding the style of eye care you provide. Work outwards from the vision you have for your practice and you’ll be sure to attract loyal patients and staff—best of luck!
Opportunities abound to develop our leadership skills! Find mentors in your community, attend local zone meetings, volunteer to give RealEyes Presentations, serve your zone or seek positions on OOA committees or the board. There’s always great CE to be found on the topic of leadership at EastWest Eye Conference. The OOA Board runs a Leadership Academy for New Optometrists, with 40 new member-doctors poised to spend the coming year performing committee work and attending OOA events. If you graduated in optometry 2008 or later and would like to be part of the Leadership Academy, contact the OOA.