3 ways to hold your dental team accountable
Accountability is giving people the tools to help them develop as professionals so that they can do their jobs. It's up to you as the boss to make this happen.
Hearing the word “accountability” makes some employees nervous. They think it involves assigning blame or providing excuses. But it doesn’t and it can’t. If it did involve blame, nothing would get done.
True accountability is giving people the tools to help them develop as professionals so that they can do their jobs. Unfortunately, most leaders don’t understand how to instill a sense of accountability in their teams. But if you want to have a great team, one that runs like well-oiled machine, accountability is key. And it begins with you.
Three ways to increase team accountability
Developing accountability within your team will never happen on its own. You must take the steps to build it in your staff. Follow these strategies for increased team accountability:
• Always provide a deadline—Whenever you assign a task, you must give a deadline. Whether you need it today, tomorrow, or months from now, you must provide a due date. Why? Because tasks without deadlines usually go to the bottom of the pile of everything else that needs to be done. When assigning tasks, be sure to use language such as, “Mary, can you please contact Mrs. Smith about the information I promised her today? If you don’t reach her, please leave a message and ask her to confirm that she received it.” Communicating in this way ensures that both the task and expected deadline is clear.
• Measure tasks—If you merely ask someone to communicate better, that can be hard to measure. However, if you specifically ask your front desk person to ensure that hygienists and doctors know when a patient is waiting past his or her appointment time, that task can be checked. You can also quantify duties by completion dates. Teach your team that certain things need to be done daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. It will be very easy to measure what gets done at the end of these time periods.
• Clarify the results—If your team doesn’t understand your expectations, you’ll never get the desired result. Be crystal clear with your staff about all tasks. This means communicating exactly how many items you want ordered, being specific about the date and time you’ll need a profit and loss report on your desk, or personally demonstrating your new inventory system. Also, let team members know that if they have trouble they should report back to you immediately.
Once you create accountability in your team, everyone will know what’s expected and team members will operate together and independently with confidence, alerting you only when they need your help. Use these three strategies to increase accountability in your team for greater practice success.
Roger P. Levin,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, an internationally-known dental practice management speaker, 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.