Leadership is one of the main cornerstones of a healthy organization. Many dentists own and operate their own dentistry practice, but some offices work as a conglomerate. Whether you are an office manager or a practicing dentist, knowing what to do as a practice leader will strengthen your team. This blog post delves into three ways to harness your leadership skills to promote and maintain an efficient dental practice.
1. Foster a healthy workplace culture from the top-down
Your practice’s workplace culture defines how your team members feel while working in your office, and by extension, how they behave. For instance, if they are too comfortable, team members may sometimes forget to maintain their professionalism in the office. If staff are uncomfortable in the work environment, however, they may behave rigidly or nervously, also negatively impacting their performance, and by extension, the quality of service given to your patients. Additionally, team members working in a thriving environment contribute to the office’s culture, often harmonizing with other team members.
Fostering a healthy workplace culture is vital for maintaining a thriving dental team. Some pointers to take into consideration include:
- Make sure your practice’s mission statement is made clear to new hires from the very beginning.
- Encourage the behaviours you want to see in your office by setting an example. Employees tend to mirror what they see in the workplace.
- Reward team members and hold them accountable – providing constructive criticism as feedback maintains a safe work environment and provides room for growth for the team member. Remember to be fair and consistent when giving feedback.
- Be proactive with feedback, whether it is positive or negative. Providing no feedback may make existing problems larger in the long run and result in team members feeling unappreciated.
2. Prepare your staff with problem-solving skills
As a practice leader, you are one of the people who decide how your office handles problems and how to mitigate problems. One aspect of preparedness is making sure your team members know the correct protocol when handling difficult situations or individuals. Educate your team members on what they should do or say if they encounter a problem with a patient, visitor, or co-worker. Guide your team members on the correct protocol for these issues. Preparing your team to face these situations with confidence dissolves tension when the time comes and may help prevent problems entirely.
While you can prepare your team as best as you can, there will always be a chance for unforeseeable problems to come up. While you won’t anticipate every issue that may occur, you can still prepare your team with diverse problem-solving skills, which are crucial when facing an unanticipated situation.
3. Provide resources and opportunities for learning
Dental offices are symbiotic; the office’s front and back need to work in harmony to be efficient. Before this can happen, team members need to learn the best practices for the tasks associated with their roles. Aside from putting care into an initial training program for new hires, some other ways you can provide resources for your team include:
- Registering for CE courses as a group throughout the year
- Attending dental conferences (including virtual trade shows) – these shows have valuable educational material and CE courses for your team.
- If you recently updated or transferred a software or system in your practice, set aside some time for training the whole team on the new workflows.
- Sometimes, team members may need reminders on how to use equipment or software properly. For example, if someone regularly forgets to use a built-in charting system favoring leaving detailed notes, they likely need a reminder. Ongoing education is almost always required in the workplace.
By providing the resources for your team’s ongoing learning, you set your team, and by extension, your practice up for success. Ensuring everyone in your practice is implementing best practices is a surefire way to maintain a team-centric attitude and foster office motivation.