9 3 Tues Tip

Tuesday Tip: How is a team member supposed to know what I need?

Sept. 3, 2013
Dental office team members must let their needs be known

By Mary Lynn Wheaton, Director of Consulting

Our colleagues at Ken Blanchard Companies partnered with Pride Institute several years ago to bring Situational Leadership to our clients.

In a recent seminar, I was teaching Situational Leadership to one of my dentists, and was reminded of the two important words that team members need to be willing (and feel safe enough) to say when learning a new skill or task. Those two words are "I need."

How is a team member supposed to know what he or she needs? It comes from learning how to self-diagnose a situation based on the person’s level of competence and level of motivation toward the goal, skill, or task. What innate abilities or transferable skills (skills that relate to the task) do you already have? What is your confidence level? This gives insight into what you really need to master that skill!

The model of Situational Leadership has four quadrants that illustrate the progression of learning. It starts with the "enthusiastic beginner," who knows very little but is very excited to learn. Next is the "need" the person has— direction with lots of "hands on" instruction. Then comes the "disillusioned learner," who has potentially run into the situation where the skill or task is actually harder than originally thought and the person’s needs come in the form of coaching (lots of direction and support).

Once someone can actually perform the task, they become "capable, but cautious," which means they can perform something but they may have variable commitment to it. This stage is where the mentor must provide a great deal of support with little or no direction. The last quadrant in development is the “self-reliant achiever,” where the learner needs very little support or direction and is at the level of delegation (also known as mastery).

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For team members and doctors alike, actively participating in your own continuous growth is important for success. Whether in formal growth conferences that map out your goals for the year, or simply deciding what you require when taking on a new task, be prepared to self-diagnose and then courageously ask for the help you need. Your teammates should jump at the chance to assist so you can enhance your contribution to the practice.

So go ahead. It's only Tuesday! Decide what you'd like to learn today. Turn to a team member and say "I need," and enjoy the atmosphere of growth in your practice today.

Pride Institute: Tuesday Tips from Pride Institute are provided weekly on their Facebook page as well as in this column on DentistryIQ. To ensure you don’t miss any of Pride Institute’s proven methods to take your practice to the next level, visit www.prideinstitute.com, and like us on Facebook!