How to Get Team Members to Do Their Share
I am a dental assistant in a busy practice and I am exhausted because I show up early for work and am the last to leave, and I am always busy while the other dental assistant sits in her operatory and daydreams between patients. Everyone says I have the best work ethic but I am tired of doing it all. My employer complains about the other assistant to me but doesn’t do anything about it. What should I do??
Dear Overworked, according to a recent survey by corporate training firm VitalSmarts, workers who are slackers make the rest of us put in one to three extra hours a week at the office. This affects the morale and energy of the members pulling most of the weight, and can cause a drop in performance level for their job duties. In a dental office environment it is not recommended to confront the slacker unless you have the authority to do so and also the proper training that goes with difficult situations. The responsibility lies with the dentist, who is CEO of the practice and must manage and resolve the situation.
Before bringing the issues to the boss or office manager, define the problem and come up with a possible workable solution. No one wants to hear a venting whine, so make the discussion about how the situation affects office production, clinical efficiency and customer service. Be prepared to give specific dates, people involved and circumstances to validate your claim.
Try setting boundaries with the other teammates by explaining why it would benefit the practice for him/her to help more. S/he could be thinking that you don’t want the help. If you both share the same job description, you would both share the same job responsibilities. Offer to alternate so that you are not the first to arrive and the last to leave every day. If you work overtime on Monday then s/he should work overtime on Tuesday or the next day you work over. Set up a schedule where you take turns with tasks such as maintenance of equipment, stocking supplies or cleaning sterilizers etc. Keep a log where each of you writes the date of service and initials for completion. Create a clinical procedural manual to create a standard by which each of you will perform your tasks. This would include sterilization, OSHA manual updates and MSDS recordings, management and proper storage of supplies and equipment, tray set-ups and follow-up with patients who have not completed scheduled treatment or have been referred to a specialist for care.
When you are up against a wall and can get no resolve from your teammate, your next step is to bring it to the boss’s attention. You may want to script the situation and rehearse it so that you sound concerned and not just like a “squealer.”
“Dr. Smith, I would like to have a meeting with you to discuss how we might increase clinical efficiency and manage our time better. One of the reasons the room is not set up completely is that instruments are being left in the sterilization center. I think that whoever breaks down the room should be the one to finish the task by preparing the instruments for the sterilizer. In the last two months it appears that I am the one who is doing most of the instruments and I would like the task to be shared evenly so that both of us are on time and have the rooms set up completely.”
Listen to your employer’s response in regard to the issue. It may be that your employer will ask the clinical team to sit down and work out the differences in a meeting. The purpose of the meeting will be to bring resolve to the issue.
The importance of monthly business meetings cannot be overlooked to solve problems. Put your issue on the agenda for the next monthly team meeting so that everyone can listen and give the support that you need to solve problems positively.
For more help organizing your practice to run efficiently, call McKenzie Management at (877) 777-6151 for professional training in business management systems.Forward this article to a friend
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