Sally McKenzie’s Monday Morning Memo---Issue #10
Bad Attitude or Personality Issue
Would you get a load of that attitude?
Like fingernails across the chalkboard, the approach of
certain employees plainly causes you to shudder. At times you
are left standing there, mouth gaping, and utterly amazed by
the behavior of some staff.
When it comes to dealing with employee
attitude, we urge doctors to take charge, and the best way to
do that is through feedback to the employee. “Dentists have
a tendency to think that feedback is only to be given when the
employee is doing something good. But if the employee is not
handling something well, they need to be told. Employee
performance will increase by 26% if feedback is given
regularly, both good and bad.
An employee’s attitude also is often
influenced by their personality. In some cases, your
introverted employee, who prefers to work alone, may appear to
have a bad attitude because she is in a position where she has
to work with people all day. If an employee is not in a
position suited for her personality, she may be difficult and
appear to have a poor attitude. We recommend using the Keirsey
Temperament Sorter, which is adapted from the Myers-Briggs
test found in the book "Please Understand Me" by
David Keirsey, and can be accessed online at http://www.keirsey.com.
The temperament test, along with the
Practice Performance Understanding How Personality Types
Affect Dental Practice Success:",
you to identify which personality types are working in your
practice and whether you have people placed in positions for
which they are best suited. There are several different
personality types. For example, extroverted types like to have
people around them in the work environment. Introverted types
do not like to be interrupted by the phone, and will send a
letter to a past due account vs. calling them. Sensing types
focus on what works now. Intuitive types focus on what is
happening in the future. Thinking types tend to be firm and
tough minded, while feeling types dislike telling people
unpleasant things like, "You owe $845 for today."
Judging types use lists as agendas for
action. Perceiving types make a list and lose it. A basic understanding of your staff can be a
significant step in determining if you are dealing with an
attitude problem or a personality issue.
Realize that different
people have different approaches to work. Balancing an
employee's mental capability with the needs of the tasks or systems
to be done will provide a better working environment for everyone.
Sally's Recommended Action
1. Give all employees' the
Kerisey Temperament Sorter Test. Instructions of
grade the test are in the book and share with each other your
2. Purchase the Maximize
Practice Performance book and understand which
types are best
for hygienists, assistants, business staff, etc.
3. Make a conscious
decision to give positive/constructive feedback to all
on a daily/weekly basis via verbal communication or written
4. "Nip in the
bud" any behavior that is unacceptable by confronting the
This can be done verbally or written.
5. Discuss openly with the
team how their temperament type may be holding
them back from
performing to the practice's expectation.
If you would like to e-mail
Sally regarding your practice concerns click