Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2019 01 Personality 1

Know and understand personality differences, get along better in the dental practice

Jan. 24, 2019
Knowing your personality and those of your coworkers can make every working day go more smoothly. Here's one way to find out what type of personality you have, and how to get along with those who are different.
Kevin Henry, Cofounder,

Allow me to be about the 855th person to wish you a Happy New Year! I hope that 2019 is off to a tremendous start for you and your career.

Before the end of 2018, I discussed what dental assistants could do to make 2019 better for themselves. The first item listed in that article was embracing the differences in your practice. That’s something I hope you’re doing right now, because it can be the variable between loving your day or dreading your day.

It’s been said that a majority of disagreements between human beings come from how something is said or what is being perceived in the statement versus what is actually said. So often, we think we hear a tone in someone’s voice or we read between the lines on what we think someone means when he or she says something. We put context into a statement that maybe isn’t there, and that’s not good. That’s when things can often blow up between people or, even worse, fester under the skin like a splinter and cause those individuals to dislike being near each other.

I’ve been working a lot in recent weeks with DiSC and the difference it can make in dental practices. DiSC is a way to learn your personality and see other personalities in the workplace, how you differ, and what you can agree on each day. I think it’s fascinating to watch people learn about themselves and how their personality traits and those of their coworkers affect their relationships.

What does DiSC stand for? Each letter has its own meaning and its own group of people represented in the dental practice:

Dominance—These people are direct and decisive. They don’t leave much to the imagination when it comes to what they’re thinking about in a situation. They like to be in charge, and to show people they’re in charge. Dentists often fall into this group as do some office managers.

Influence—These people aren’t afraid to be the center of attention. They often wear their emotions on their sleeves and like to work with others to solve problems. Hygienists often fall in this category.

Steadiness—Stable and predictable, these people are understanding and listen well. They can be trusted and are sympathetic. Dental assistants, many of you are classified in this category.

Conscientious—Careful and cautious, these people usually do not rush into a decision. They listen to other people but thrive on efficiency and organization. Many of your front desk team members are in this group.

In our personal and professional relationships, we encounter different personalities every day. Personally, my wife is a D while I fall into the S category. Our personalities differ greatly. She is very black and white and no gray while I am very much let’s all get along and find a common solution to a problem. Those often don’t mix. We have to think about not only what we are saying to each other, but also how the other person is perceiving it. It makes all the difference to think for a moment before we say something and consider not only what is being said, but also the tone in which it’s being said.

I know some dental practices that use small dots on their name badges that correspond with the different letters of DiSC as a subtle reminder of their differences and what forms of communication work best. I also know of practices that are profiling some of their patients and matching the personalities of their patients with certain team members. This is working wonders when it comes to case acceptance and understanding treatment. Matching personality styles is doing wonders for some practices’ bottom lines.

Do what you can to ensure you are not only being a leader in the practice and voicing your opinions and ideas, but also truly listening to your colleagues and hearing what they are saying, not just how they are saying it.

What can change in your career if you know what rubs you the wrong way about another person? How can that knowledge change your outlook and your working relationships? Those are some of the things we’re going to dive into this year with IgniteDA and Dental Assisting Digest.

If you think DiSC and personality testing might be beneficial for you or your practice, drop me a line at [email protected]. I would be happy to talk to you and examine some next steps.

Here is to a tremendous 2019 for you! How about this—let’s resolve to not allow the differences in our personalities be the thing that drives a wedge between us and our successes in the New Year. Who’s with me?

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