When it comes to practice production, one of the most crucial factors is having a well-trained, cohesive team. The best way to achieve this is to gradually build the capabilities and skill sets of team members and have them stay with the practice long term. In a 30-year ongoing study by Levin Group of top 10% producing practices, we found 17 characteristics that these practices have in common. One of these characteristics is higher team longevity. We identified this as one of the key factors in practices reaching the top 10%.
There are many ways to build team performance, satisfaction, and longevity, and the following three will help any practice.
Treat every team member with respect
Dentists and office managers should go to work tomorrow thinking of themselves not as “figures of authority” at the top of the hierarchy, but as part of a team where every member has an equally important role. Each person has responsibility and accountability for their specific area, and everyone works together to achieve common objectives that are clearly identified and understood by everyone. Respect means you and your team behave as colleagues.
Let the team do their jobs
Each team member is a unique individual with specific responsibilities within the practice. Training and a comprehensive understanding of exactly what tasks are to be done should lead each individual to work independently. Micromanagement or constant follow-up is not the way to build independence. Instead, stop managing and start measuring. Allow each team member to make decisions affecting their area and work independently to accomplish each of their objectives. Then measure the results they achieve. This is how the best businesses build great teams.
- Why you should start big cases within 7–10 days
- Hiring a sterilization assistant
- Improving case acceptance
Think of your team beyond the office
Team members are people, and people have a great deal of stress and challenge in their lives. Compassionate leadership is now the norm. Displaying understanding goes a long way toward building team longevity. If you have a team member with a personal problem, rather than being angry and annoyed, take a compassionate approach beginning with asking, “How can I help?” Many people are no longer willing to simply work for a paycheck. They want to be understood and feel like the office is an extension of their personal lives where they can feel safe, have fun, and achieve.
These three concepts are cornerstones in the science of leadership. Dentists and office managers who embrace these principles will increase team longevity. Unfortunately, those who do not may end up with a revolving door on the front of their office as team members come and go.
Editor's note: This article appeared in the October 2023 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.