Daily coaching for success for your team: Getting started

Feb. 3, 2010

By Rhonda R. Savage, DDS

What does your staff want? More feedback! One of the frustrations of team members is the lack of feedback. It is difficult to find the time in a busy dental practice, and yet daily coaching can have a very positive effect on your team.

What does your coworker want? Each team member wants to work in harmony with you and know that he or she is in good standing with you. It’s important to stress that you do not need to be friends with everyone you work with, but you do need to be friendly and professional. Unresolved past issues or frustrations can build up and erupt at inopportune moments if they are not resolved.

How do you give feedback without your female staff or coworker dissolving into tears? Here is the first of five techniques to implement that will allow you to give your team the kind of feedback they not only want, but also deserve. These techniques work well whether you are a practice owner, practice administrator, or team member that is having difficulty with a coworker. The other four techniques will follow in future Tips and Tricks.

1. Don’t let your frustrations build. Too many of us let feelings build and then past frustrations spill out and become today’s problem. If you’re angry, anger leads either to silence or to an unreasonable outburst if you haven’t dealt with the issues and have let them build up. Everyone knows when someone is upset. Staff, doctors, and office managers want to know, not wonder, what’s wrong.

Unfortunately, you can be a great person and leader 90% of the time, but if you explode in anger or give someone the silent treatment, people will mostly remember the 10% of time you behaved inappropriately. If you become upset, take the time to cool off and collect your thoughts. What do you REALLY want from the situation? Focus on your heart: What are your motives? Do you want to prove the person wrong? Belittle them? Or do you want to affect a change that will have a positive result? If your motives aren’t clear and beneficial for the other person and the health of the practice, the results may not be what you desire.

Express how you feel daily, but try to do so in a positive fashion. As Linda Miles says, “Put a spotlight on what someone’s doing right, rather than putting a magnifying glass on what someone’s doing wrong.” A positive approach to problem solving will decrease stress and tension in your office.

Team members want to go home at night and know everything is OK. This is especially true of female staff.

Rhonda Savage, DDS, has been in private practice for 16 years and is the CEO for Linda L. Miles and Associates, an internationally known practice management and consulting business. Dr. Savage is a noted speaker who lectures on practice management, esthetic dentistry, women's health issues, periodontal disease, communication and marketing, and zoo dentistry. You may reach Dr. Savage at [email protected].