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When dental team members set goals, it encourages their career development and benefits the practice.

Goal-setting to boost career development

Oct. 12, 2023
Work with your team to set goals to encourage personal and professional development and benefit the practice.

I am a firm believer that if a team member feels that they are making an impact on the greater good of the practice, they will continually strive for success and fulfillment in their careers. Helping your dental team understand what is expected of them and how their role impacts the larger goals of the practice promotes continuous improvement and ensures that they are aligned with the practice owner’s goals. 

6 ways goal-setting encourages development

  • It creates a roadmap. By breaking down large goals into smaller, achievable steps, team members can make progress toward their objectives in a structured and manageable manner. This helps build momentum and motivation, as they can see their progress and celebrate their successes along the way.
  • It promotes accountability. When team members make a commitment to achieving a particular objective, they are more likely to follow through on their actions and make progress toward their goals. This accountability can help them stay on track, even when faced with obstacles or setbacks.
  • It encourages a growth mindset. Goal-setting encourages a growth mindset, which is the belief that one can develop their abilities through hard work, dedication, and persistence. By setting goals that stretch one’s abilities and require learning new skills or knowledge, individuals can develop a sense of curiosity, a willingness to take risks, and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement.
  • It stimulates self-awareness. When your team sets goals, they are forced to reflect on their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This self-awareness can help them to identify areas where they need to develop new skills, knowledge, or behaviors, and create a plan for how to do so.
  • It builds confidence. When your team achieves their goals, they build confidence in their abilities and develop a sense of self-efficacy. This enables them to tackle new challenges with greater confidence and resilience and feel more empowered to take control of their development and their careers.
  • It fosters collaboration. When individuals work together toward a shared goal, they can leverage each other’s strengths, support each other through challenges, and celebrate their successes together. This collaboration can create a sense of community and belonging, which is a powerful motivator for development.

How can managers show support?

To help the team achieve their goals, we must be able to offer resources and support to help develop their skills. These could include:

  • Additional training opportunities; are there hands-on events being held locally?
  • Mentoring or coaching with you or an expert related to their specific job description
  • Access to online resources (e.g., AADOM, Dale Foundation, DANB)
  • Making sure they have appropriate time to meet the goal
  • Motivating them with routine positive and constructive feedback
  • Providing growth opportunities within the dental practice

Related reading: 

HR in dentistry: Tips for managing good, the bad, and the oh-so-ugly

4 tips to guide your team to greatness

Sparking engagement in the daily huddle

Goal-setting is a critical component of personal and professional development. By setting clear, specific, and achievable goals, your team can focus their efforts, track their progress, and achieve their objectives in a structured and manageable way. Goal-setting can foster self-awareness, accountability, growth mindset, and collaboration, while building confidence and empowering team members to take control of their career development. As a manager, helping your team reach their potential can be one of the most rewarding aspects of your job.

About the Author

Savanah Carlson, DAADOM

As the AADOM director of member services, Savanah Carlson, DAADOM, oversees a team that works to provide dental administrative professionals with the resources and education needed for their practices to thrive. She has been in the dental field since 2010, with expertise ranging from social media marketing to positive work culture and effective conflict resolution. Savanah is a past president of the Boston Society of Dental Managers and developed the organization’s hybrid model virtual/in-person membership structure.

Updated October 12, 2023