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Dentists: Who’s watching you? Ask for honest feedback from your staff

Oct. 22, 2018
Most dentists do not have an executive coach or a board of directors to tell them how they're doing on the job. So, Dr. Roger Levin suggests asking the team for feedback. Yes, it will be intimidating at first.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, CEO and Founder, Levin Group

This article originally appeared in the Principles of Practice Management e-newsletter. Subscribe to this informative twice monthly practice management ENL here.

The idea of someone watching everything you do, from how you perform a root canal or place a crown to how you greet a patient or conduct a meeting, might make you nervous. But consider this: 100% of Fortune 500 CEOs have a board of directors, and 80% of them have an executive coach. These are the people who are watching them and telling them what they think of their performances and how they can improve.

You are the CEO of your practice. Who’s watching you?

Each year I have the pleasure of working with a small number of dental clients who I accept for executive coaching. After I observe a dentist’s work style, we discuss its pros and cons and how the dentist can move forward for maximum success. These conversations are nothing short of amazing. My clients learn a lot about themselves and what they can do to improve their personal and professional lives. It’s a fun, transformative experience.

While most dentists don’t have an executive coach or board of directors, they do have a dental staff. Have you ever thought about asking your staff for feedback on your performance as a dentist, manager, and owner? Of course, this can be very intimidating for both you and the team. When you first suggest it, they’re going to think you’re out of your mind because in their minds there’s no way they can tell you what they really think.

If they are willing to give you feedback, you’re going to be afraid of what they have to say. Trust me, there’s no reason to fear. When you start soliciting your staff’s opinions in regard to your own improvement, and they feel comfortable with that concept, they’ll provide very constructive feedback that’s in the best interests of you and the practice.

The key is getting your team to trust the process. Demonstrate that you really want to work on continuing to improve and that you will continue to solicit their input. I know a CEO of a multi-million-dollar company who has a performance review every six days with his administrative assistant. However, she reviews him. She points out what bad habits he’s slipped back into, when he’s not treating people well, and what he can do to improve his performance. According to him, it’s one of his most valuable weekly meetings.


When you give your staff the chance to weigh in on your performance, you’ll be amazed at how much they have to offer. Like the dentist, most team members enjoy their jobs and care about the practice. When they view this process in a positive light and believe that you’re dedicated to continued improvement, which is the hallmark of any good leader, they’ll be delighted to help you achieve your goals.

Roger P. Levin, DDS,is a third-generation general dentist and the founder and CEO of Levin Group Inc., a dental management consulting firm that has worked with over 26,000 dentists. Dr. Levin is an internationally-known dental practice management speaker who has written 65 books and over 4,300 articles. He is also the executive founder of Dental Business Study Clubs–dentistry’s only all-business study clubs, the next generation of dental business education.
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