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Is your Dental Team really a TEAM?


A successful dental practice is one with a great team. A lot of dentistry depends on teamwork –  there are very few procedures or processes that require only a single person. Every person on that team is the face of the dental practice to the patient, not just the dentist or receptionist. Yet not all practices have such good teams where members work together to solve problems and help each other out.

Great teams are more than just a group of people. Team members rely on each other to perform their jobs effectively. A good team will work towards common goals and deal with issues in a calm manner. Great teams produce better results, whether it is day to day tasks or the overall success of the clinic. If your clinic doesn’t have a good team, here’s what you can do to foster one.

Open and Honest Communication

Any relationship depends on open and honest communication. Teams are no different. How can you build a sense of camaraderie if no one on the team is willing to listen or talk honestly? Burying emotions or problems because the team is afraid of conflict is only a temporary band aid. Burying your head in the sand doesn’t solve any problems. Team members should communicate often, be polite to one another and show consideration for the perspective of others.

Suppose you have an employee who habitually comes in late but is otherwise excellent at their job. In a good team, a colleague might approach them and ask if there is any issue (personal or professional) and offer to help reach a solution.What we usually see is the opposite – the manager starts yelling at the employee for tardiness. This sets of a cycle of negativity and doesn’t actually present a solution for the practice.

Praise & Appreciation

People tend to blame others during a crisis. The instinct of self preservation can cause employees to resort to pointing fingers at each other, instead of putting their heads together to solve the issue. Rather than focus on the negative or problems only, learn to give praise and appreciate your colleagues. While resolving issues is certainly important, no one likes to be constantly reminded of their mistakes. Take the time to compliment someone on a job well done and watch as spirits lift around the entire office.

Admit Mistakes

Sooner or later something is bound to go wrong at the workplace. Learning to admit when you make a mistake is a valuable trait. Acknowledge your mistake, apologize and then present everyone with a solution. After the crisis has passed, sit down and think about how you can do better the next time. This will improve team morale and provide learning opportunities for everyone to grow professionally. It’s not easy to admit your mistakes, especially when it could potentially affect someone’s health but we should realize that everyone makes them some time or the other. There is no such thing as a perfect employee and no one expects you to be one!

Asking for and Providing Help

This is also a trait of good teams. People are willing to ask for help from their teammates and offer help when they see someone is swamped with work. Just because you are the office manager doesn’t mean you can’t offer assistance to the receptionist dealing with irate patients. On the flip side, quite a few people shy away from asking for help until the problem snowballs into a crisis. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re incompetent, it just means you need assistance.

Daily or weekly team meetings can kickstart the process of forging your employees into a great team. These tips can help you and your team become more effective and achieve success.