How Can you Develop your Leadership Skills in Dentistry?

 When applying for jobs you might see as part of the criteria a tick box for leadership and/or management skills. But how are you able to demonstrate this and gain leaderships skills in dentistry?

Graduation day with my fellow OCDO fellows back in 2019!

Responsibilities as part of your current Job

You could argue that actually every dentist has to demonstrate leadership within their surgery. You are there, with your nurse and your patient and you are leading the interactions, where things are going, instructing and training your nurse and communicating with your patient. 

You could also take on additional roles, whether you are an associate in practice, or working in hospital or the community dental service. Some examples are:
  • Becoming a lead for the practice/service in areas like cross infection, CPD and training or safeguarding
  • Becoming a clinical lead for an area of the service - for example, when I was a dental officer in the Community Dental Service I was the lead for our Homeless Dental Service
  • Becoming an Educational or Clinical Supervisor for trainees
  • Taking on roles such as sitting on a board, or clinical advisory group, for example if you work as part of a corporate
  • Roles as part of societies, the royal colleges or other dental organisations

Edward Jenner Programme

An online course for NHS professionals which is free to access and has a rolling intake, this programme is an excellent opportunity to explore what leadership is and develop your own skills. 

I would definitely recommend completing this programme, and then you apply directly what you learn into what leadership roles you have in your day job. To learn more click here

NHS Leadership Academy

The Edward Jenner Programme is one of several at the NHS Leadership Academy. They have several programmes to enrol on depending on your leadership experience as well as a learning hub and other events. 

To see more click here.


You might have seen from previous blog posts, that I completed a year's fellowship with the Office of the Chief Dental Officer. These programmes are usually a year in length and are non-clinical roles that aim to help dental professionals upskill in leadership and management. You might have a specific project to work on or are generally immersed within an organisation to learn more about the other side of the decisions table! For example in my year I was involved in the recommissioning of the Community Dental Services in a region. 

There are lots of different fellowships around, some include:
  • OCDO/FMLM fellowships as I have mentioned
  • Health Educational England Fellowships 
  • Chief Sustainability Officer Fellowships
  • NHS Regional Fellowships
  • Darzi Fellowships
  • Topol Fellowships

Masters and Diplomas 

There are lots of Healthcare Leadership MScs and Diplomas about from universities and many of them are online or distance learning. 

There's a dental one too! Queen Mary do an online diploma in Dental Public Health, Policy and Leadership

Non Dental Roles

Don't forget all the things you do outside of dentistry and outside of work that will demonstrate leadership skills. Have you sat on a board, organised an event, been captain of a sports team, done voluntary work or anything else that shows you are a great leader!? Do not forget these!

Finally, if you need any one on one careers coaching or if you want more personalised help to develop your leadership skills get in touch! I offer personal coaching services which you can learn about here

Do you have any questions about Paediatric Dentistry or applying for specialist training? Leave them in the comments below.

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