Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 03 Feedback 1

Are your dental team members receiving enough feedback?

March 10, 2017
It's important for dental team members to know how they're doing in their positions. Feedback from the boss and coworkers will help the practice run more efficiently. Let someone know if they're doing a good, or not-so-good, job.
Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management

It's important for dental team members to know how they're doing in their positions. Feedback from the boss and coworkers will help the practice run more efficiently. Let someone know if they're doing a good, or not-so-good, job.

Your team members want to do their part to help your practice grow. They want to contribute as much as possible, but to do that effectively, they need direction.

One way to provide that direction (in addition to creating detailed job descriptions and offering proper training) is through continual feedback. That’s right, continual feedback, not just during yearly performance reviews. When you see team members go above and beyond, let them know you appreciate their efforts. If you see them do something wrong, take them aside and talk with them about how they can improve.

Trust me, your team members want this type of feedback. Without it, they might end up feeling lost and unhappy in their positions. The feedback shouldn’t just come from you; it should also come from other team members.

Of course, feedback doesn’t do much good if no one uses it to take action and make improvements. I’ve put together a few tips to help ensure that your team members and your practice get the most out of constructive feedback.

Encourage team members to give feedback—Some of your team members might not be comfortable offering feedback to their coworkers. After all, they don’t want to offend anyone, so they keep quiet when they see another employee doing something they shouldn’t. Unfortunately, that means the behavior will likely continue, which hurts the practice.

That’s why I suggest creating an environment that encourages feedback among team members. Remind them that even constructive feedback should be positive, and that any suggestions they have should be offered politely. This really is a great way to improve systems, customer service, and patient care.

Train them to take feedback seriously—At first, team members might simply shrug off any feedback they receive from coworkers or even you. They’ll convince themselves the person offering the suggestion is just in a bad mood and shouldn’t be taken seriously. That attitude isn’t going to lead to any improvements in your practice.

Instead of chalking up constructive criticism to a bad day, team members should ask questions to better understand where their coworker is coming from. It might even be a good idea for them to set up a time to talk about the situation when everyone is calm. Then, the employees can work together to create a solution that benefits the practice.

Have them seek out feedback—When your team members start asking for feedback, they’ll feel more comfortable receiving it and acting on it. This will help them grow as professionals and become more confident in their roles.

It’s also important for team members to thank those who take the time to offer feedback. This also helps to foster an environment where everyone is comfortable giving and receiving constructive criticism. It becomes clear they want to see each other succeed and are truly working together to move the practice forward.

Tell them to write everything down—Writing down any feedback will help employees remember the comments, and ultimately take action. Encourage them to think about the feedback and come up with three to five steps to start making any necessary changes.

Stress that it isn’t personal—Some people find it difficult to hear any type of criticism, no matter how politely it’s given. If this is the case with any of your team members, ask them to take a step back and look at how they respond to constructive comments. Remind them not to take the feedback personally, but to use it to grow as a professional. Let them know the goal is to help everyone excel in their roles to contribute to practice success, and constructive feedback is an important part of that.

If you want to own a thriving dental practice, you need a strong team with you. When your team members take feedback seriously, it helps them excel in their roles and boosts their morale, which ultimately increases practice productivity and grows your bottom line.

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Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management,, a full-service, nation-wide dental practice management company. Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or at [email protected].
About the Author

Sally McKenzie | CEO of McKenzie Management

Sally McKenzie was CEO of McKenzie Management, a full-service, nationwide dental practice management company. For over 30 years, Sally immersed herself in techniques, systems, and methods to improve the performance of dental practices. She was a dental auxiliary, dental business administrator, and dental educator for several years prior to founding McKenzie Management in 1980.

Read more about her legacy in the dental profession from Chris Salierno, DDS.