Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2019 03 Strong 1

Do you have a weak dental team? Here’s how you can tell

April 2, 2019
Some dentists do not realize that their team is what's pulling down their practice. Here are the signs team members might be a problem.
You simply cannot build a successful dental practice on your own. You need a strong team behind you, made up of talented professionals who share your vision and goals. A weak team will do nothing but cause stress and frustration and keep you from meeting your full potential.

So, how can you tell if a weak team is holding you back? Here are some common signs, and what you can do to take your team from struggling to strong.

They seem lost

No matter how much experience your team members have in the dental industry, they still need guidance from you, the practice CEO. Without it, they won’t have any direction, meaning they’re nowhere near as effective or efficient as they should be.

One of the best ways to give team members the guidance they crave is through detailed job descriptions. I know what you’re thinking. Sally, job descriptions are a waste of time. I’m here to tell you that they’re not. Detailed job descriptions serve as a road map to success. They let team members know exactly what duties they should complete each day and what your expectations are. I recommend also including performance measurements. These will motivate your employees to excel, which will strengthen your team and boost your bottom line.

While creating job descriptions, it’s a good idea to involve your team members. Ask them what they think should be included, and then take the opportunity to talk with them about each of their goals and how those align with practice goals. This is also a good time to share your vision for the practice. Make sure team members know how important they are to helping you achieve that vision, and how they can contribute to practice success. You’ll find they’ll start to take more ownership of their roles and step up to do their part to move the practice forward.

They’re falling short of expectations

Once team members know exactly what your expectations are, they’ll be more likely to meet or even exceed them—but the guidance you need to provide doesn’t end with job descriptions. Regular feedback is also vital and ensures team members know what areas they excel in and where they can improve.

I suggest you commit to giving team members feedback every day. If you see them going above and beyond, let them know that you appreciate it. If you notice they could improve in a certain area, take them aside and tell them. They’ll use the feedback to improve their performances, which will ultimately benefit your practice.

They’re just not getting along

When team members don’t see eye-to-eye, it can do a lot of damage to your practice. They start to focus on their differences rather than providing excellent patient care and meeting goals, which leads to extra stress for everyone in the practice as well as lost revenues.

You really can’t ignore staff conflict (though I know you would like to). As soon as you notice trouble brewing, sit down with the team members involved and work with them to find a solution. Don’t point fingers or try to figure out who’s to blame. This will just lead to more trouble. Instead, look at the conflict as an opportunity to make improvements to the practice, and work together to make those improvements.

It will hurt morale if you let conflict fester. Team members will start looking for new jobs, further hurting production numbers and damaging your practice. If it gets bad enough, patients will notice. They’ll see the eye rolls or overhear the snide comments. In some cases, the tension could make patients uncomfortable enough to start looking for a new dental home.

Don’t let conflict damage your practice. Address issues as soon as they come up. Team members will be happier, more effective, and more productive.

They don’t have much confidence

This can be a practice production killer, and it stems from lack of training. The truth is, a poorly trained team is the biggest contributor to practice inefficiency and mismanagement, and that combination eats into your bottom line. How can you avoid it? Provide team members with proper training.

If employees aren’t trained properly, they won’t have confidence in their skills. Offer them the training they need as soon as they come on board, and as you add new technologies to the practice. Expecting people to learn on the job or figure it out on their own will lead to stress, frustration, wasted time, and lost revenues. It’s really not worth any of the time you think you’ll save by skipping training.

Surrounding yourself with the right team members is key to your success. If your team is weak, now is the time to make the necessary changes. Strengthening your team will do wonders for morale, productivity, and your bottom line.

Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, a full-service, nationwide dental practice management company. Contact her at (877) 777-6151 or at [email protected].

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