It’s easy to get into a routine at work, especially with the stress of personal and professional responsibilities always building up. As a result, you might develop a comfortable pattern with your assistants, hygiene team and other staff. You assume everything is good because for the most part it is.
But what is your dental team really thinking? Just because there are no major issues doesn’t mean team members don’t have concerns, questions, wants, goals, and needs. Different personalities may also have a hard time speaking up when they have nothing they perceive as worth bothering you over.
As the leader in the dental practice, you must seek out opportunities to discover others’ potential, consistently improve their experience, and provide chances for growth.
To understand what your hygiene team wants you to know, you have to see things from their perspective:
3 Ways to Understand Your Dental Team Better
1. Communication is Key
As the head of the business, you are concerned with efficiency and maximizing productivity. Both are good for your bottom line and the practice’s overall financial security.
The problem is that you can’t be everywhere at once. Plus, your role is different from your team’s, so you don’t know how they view many of the patient care procedures. They probably have a lot of ideas about how to do things ‘better,’ opinions they may not voice for a variety of reasons. It’s important to communicate with them, and also to make sure they are comfortable communicating with you.
For example, most hygienists likely wish you knew that you could come in at any point during an appointment once they’ve gotten x-rays. They would rather take their gloves off and stop then have to wait for you at the very end. That could put them behind schedule, leaving the patients that follow a bit peeved.
It seems counterintuitive: Wouldn’t they prefer not to be interrupted? Of course, everyone is different, but it’s a good idea to check in with them to figure out what they prefer. The simple act of asking can go a long way.
2. Teach Them and Learn Together
Hygienists and dental assistants are a lot like dentists. They all love teeth and oral healthcare! Your team is likely curious about dentistry beyond their expertise. They would love to learn about joints, muscles, occlusion, airway, and all of the other domains that are part of modern comprehensive dentistry.
Are you providing opportunities for professional advancement? Are you educating ongoingly? Your dental practice will suffer if you don’t help your dental team’s reach and exceed their potential.
Imagine how much more value they could add to the business and patient care, as well as how high staff morale could be, if your entire team felt both intellectually challenged and respected.
3. Appreciate Them
It’s always useful to learn how people like to be recognized and make that special effort to do so. No one wants to be ignored or unappreciated. Though you’re busy, don’t be so busy that you can’t take a moment to thank the people who keep the dental practice running smoothly.
Your dental team wants you to know that they are a vitally important part of the dental team, both in their relationships with patients and their ability to help patients move forward with treatment. And they’re right!
You can start by verbally acknowledging your team on a group and individual level. Then, figure out how they can continue to support you in case acceptance endeavors.
Most importantly, don’t take your team members for granted. Open up lines of communication, create comfortable, regular discourse, and see how your relationships become stronger for it.
Photo courtesy of Primo Smiles.