Posted by Amy Carbone on Oct 22, 2019 9:30:00 AM
Managing a dental team is no easy task. Here are some ways you can try to do it well.
Create a Positive Work Environment for Your Dental Practice
The environment of a dental practice can often be a stressful one. The normal busyness of a dental office can be compounded by anxious or difficult patients, dentists running behind, no show patients, and insurance coverage battles. It can quickly wear down your employees, making them unhappier and less effective at work.
Strive to create a positive environment for your team every day. Have a good attitude and keep frustrations with employees in check. Develop protocols for handling conflict between employees, and have frequent team meetings that allow everyone to get on the same page with each other.
Lead By Doing, Not Telling
Good leaders lead their teams by doing. It's important for your employees to see you modeling the same behavior and work ethic that you're asking of them. Team members can quickly get frustrated when they work with dentists who are unwilling to get down in the trenches with them.
Always abide by your own company policies. For example, don't consistently run a few minutes late when your employees are disciplined for doing the same. Stay after with them when patient appointments run long, and take the opportunity to show, rather than tell, your staff what you expect as often as possible.
Encourage Your Team to Meet Daily Quotas
If you've calculated how many patients you and your hygienists need to see each day to meet your profit goals, you may have daily quotas for your staff. Having something to strive for can be highly satisfying for employees, however, you should be careful to keep quotas positive. If employees are penalized for not achieving goals, they may become frustrated or resentful.
Instead, encourage your staff to meet their quotas by offering rewards when quotas are met. What that looks like exactly will differ from practice to practice. You can also verbally encourage team members and publicly praise them for a job well done.
Show Your Employees Appreciation
A job well done is something that deserves recognition, even if you've come to expect it from faithful hygienists or dental assistants. It's important that your employees feel seen and that their hard work is being recognized.
Consider naming an employee of the month and perhaps dedicate a special parking spot close to the office building for them. Give employees holiday gifts, order a cake for everyone to eat on their birthdays, or host a catered lunch once a month. Even small ways of showing your dental team appreciation can go a long way.
Provide New Training Opportunities
Your employees want to feel like they have the opportunity to grow with your dental practice. Stagnation in the workplace can lead to dissatisfaction, reduced efficacy on the job, and more employees calling out or using sick days, which can all directly affect the bottom line of your practice.
Create opportunities for your team to hone their skills, obtain additional training, and move up in position, title, and pay at your practice. Set clear guidelines on how your employees can advance their careers within your office and reward employees who put in the effort to expand their skill set.
Be Flexible and Understanding When Issues Arise
Everyone working at your dental office is human, including you. Mistakes will be made and issues will come up that need to be dealt with. While frustrating, problems with your staff need to be handled professionally. Getting overly upset or lashing out when your team makes mistakes often does little more than create a hostile work environment.
Instead, be patient with your employees and realize that mistakes are inevitable. No one on your team wants to make them if they can help it. Be understanding and compassionate when dealing with employee issues, and be flexible when you can. If you can't be flexible, help your employees understand why and make an effort to help them find a suitable alternative.
Trouble Managing Your Staff? Your Patients May Have Already Noticed
If you're struggling to manage your dental team, chances are your patients have already noticed. Issues with your employees can affect the flow of your office, the overall feel and attitude, and the quality of care your patients receive. Even a smile and a friendly conversation with their dentist may not overshadow issues with your staff that prevent them from having a good experience.
If you are struggling to manage your dental team, it's important to make positive changes to improve not only your team's working environment but also patient encounters. Showing your employees that their satisfaction at work and home-life balance is important to you, can make a significant difference!
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