Most small business owners have a passion for what they do but being the boss has its drawbacks, especially when it comes to having to police your staff. This certainly applies to the world of dentistry. Whenever an employee of a dental staff fails to follow established policy and protocol, dentists have to stop doing what they were trained to do—providing care—and handle the problem. Are you a dentist who feels like you are doing double duty as a law enforcement officer too often? The best way out of this is establishing a culture of personal accountability among all your employees.
Practice makes perfect: Many people resist change, even when they know these changes can be beneficial. Consider the wealth of products, books, magazine articles, websites, and advertisements dedicated to topics like health, fitness, diet, and nutrition. Knowing what behavior changes you have to make is one thing; sticking with them is an entirely different, and more difficult, challenge. Likewise, you need to change your focus on staff procedures to emphasize implementation. If staff members are struggling to follow a particular policy, emphasize that they keep trying the behavior until they have it down pat. Mistakes will be made, but this practice—and failure—is part of the learning process. The more time your staff spends practicing a certain behavior, the more successful they will be practicing it.
Be realistic: Set your expectations on current performance, rather than potential improvement. Learning any new behavioral skill requires time, determination, and practice—and each person learns at their own unique rate. When instituting a new protocol in your dental office, recognize the initial efforts of your employees to follow the procedure. Praise them every time they succeed and, when they fail (and they will), offer encouragement and urge them to keep trying. A little gentle coaching and constant praise can go a long way, and the ultimate result will be a team of staff members happy to show off the new protocols and procedures they have learned.
Be precise: Each member of your team should have his or her job description explained, in writing. Consider organizing these descriptions into categories, listing specific duties under each category. Structuring your descriptions in this way also makes it easy to adapt them into evaluation forms. We recommend using a scale from 1-5 for each area, with 5 representing the highest level of performance. Give each member of your staff a job description and evaluation form at the start of each calendar year. These will form a guide for them to follow throughout the year. You also may ask each team member to complete a self-evaluation prior to his or her own evaluation. Quarterly evaluations are an excellent way to communicate your employee’s efforts, achievements, and areas of improvement.
Creating a culture of accountability within your practice will limit the amount of time you have to spend “playing cop” and increase how much time you can spend providing dental care. Instead, you will find your staff members will police themselves. To learn more about how to encourage your team to be more accountable, let Bryant Consultants help. Contact us by calling (877) 768-4799.
We provide consultation, training, and coaching to help improve the operations of your practice so that you can provide exceptional results to your patients. No office is out of reach for us; we will even come to you!