7.2.10 Issue #434 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Nancy Haller, P.h. D.
Leadership Coach
McKenzie Management
coach@ mckenziemgmt.com
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Productivity Climbs with Trust and Accountability
By Nancy Haller, Ph.D. , Leadership Coach

Question: What is the #1 factor in productivity, morale and retention?
Answer: The relationship between employees and their boss – TRUST

Question: What does it mean to be the boss?
Answer: Being a boss means making sure everything goes right – ACCOUNTABILITY

The value of a professional service business like dentistry is stored in its people. Your dental knowledge and skills are important factors of your success. But whether you hobble along or have a booming practice depends on the character and performance of your employees. From patient service to referrals to bottom line profits, employee performance has an impact on everything! For top-notch dental teamwork you need trust and accountability.

Trust is the foundation that allows people to work together effectively and efficiently as a team. And accountability is the way you build that foundation. Trust enables everyone to be at their best. If you can trust others more, you can receive more help. You can be more relaxed and do the things that make you happiest. In turn you can accomplish more. Accountability means having to accept responsibility. Although everyone is accountable for their own behavior, the boss is ultimately responsible for employee performance.

Trust and accountability start with communication. As the practice leader you are responsible for demonstrating exceptional performance. It’s in the words you use and the way you do things. Your employees are watching all the time. You set the bar, and what you allow to happen is what you teach. If you let employees fall below the standard, you train them that it’s ok to be mediocre. This is Management 101.

Stop letting yourself off the hook and get out of your comfort zone. If you want a higher functioning team, you need to make management a priority. That means setting aside time each week to build relationships with your employees. Depending on the size of your staff, the time requirements will vary. However, this aspect of your practice is just as important as a patient appointment. Devote at least 30 minutes per day to consciously managing your people more effectively.

I can imagine the reactions some of you have to this guideline – Are you nuts? You want me to give up 2.5 billable hours a week to do what?!? I am very serious about this. The good news is that you are likely to experience the gains quickly. It may be fewer errors and interruptions or increased billings. I expect you’ll see greater attention to detail, maybe more enthusiasm.

What You Should Be Doing During “Management Time”

  • Talk with employees about the work. Have lots of small conversations about what needs to be done and how they are doing it.
  • Schedule one-on-one meetings. Keep them brief, perhaps 15 minutes. Gauge how much time each person needs.
  • Ask questions. Be curious. Use descriptive language and be encouraging.
  • Spell out expectations in specific and detailed terms, then track performance every step of the way.
  • Most importantly, follow through with real consequences based on whether the actual performance meets the expectations you established. Problems need to be addressed promptly, and successes need to be rewarded quickly.

Remember that you are there to bring out the very best in your employees. By adding value to them first, you help yourself. Building and maintaining trust within any organization pays off with many benefits. Efficiency happens when people really trust each other. Problems are dealt with easily and efficiently. Service goes up and costs go down. Without trust, workers slow down and lose focus.  Problems become huge obstacles. Employees scramble and blame others. Time is wasted. Service plummets. Costs go up.

Dental practices that are able to create an environment of high trust enjoy an incredible sustainable advantage. When there is trust, employees have no need to be defensive. They focus on accomplishing the mission of your practice. They direct their energy toward the patient, and to the team. There aren’t squabbles or turf battles.

Nearly every problem in your practice can be traced to problems with employees. And those problems relate directly back to you. Only you can fix the problem. Step up and admit that you are the one in charge and be the boss. Take charge of changing your own behavior and turn the tide toward a more productive practice, a practice of trust and accountability.

Questions or problems with your employees? Contact Dr. Haller at coach@mckenziemgmt.com.

Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building.

Interested in having Dr. Haller speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.

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