Don't Let Stress Hold You Back

By Sally McKenzie, CEO Printer Friendly Version

Running a dental practice can get pretty stressful at times. There’s certainly a lot to do, from diagnosing and treating patients to dealing with the business side of practice ownership. It all can seem a bit overwhelming, especially if you feel like you have to do everything on your own.

Everyone deals with stress, but it shouldn’t be a constant part of your workday. If it is, it might be time to make some changes. Stress can hold you back from meeting your full potential, leaving you feeling pretty down and even worried about the future.

How can you make your days less stressful and more productive? Here is my advice:

Bring on the right team members. When it’s time to hire someone new, it can be tempting to offer the job to the first candidate with an impressive resume. Sure, you get the dreaded hiring process over with quickly, but you may be setting yourself up for a world of trouble down the road.

If this person ends up being a bad hire, your stress levels will go through the roof. Practice efficiencies will suffer, team morale will drop, and conflict will start brewing. And if it’s bad enough, there’s a good chance the employee will quit or need to be let go, meaning you’ll have to start the hiring process all over again.

You can avoid this costly, stress-inducing situation by developing a hiring process and following it every time you have an opening to fill. What does that process look like, you ask? Here are a few steps to follow:

- Develop job descriptions for every role and use these descriptions to craft the job ad. You also should send job descriptions to any applicants you’re considering bringing in for an interview. That way, candidates who aren’t a good fit can bow out early.

- Look for red flags in resumes, such as large gaps in employment. Remember, resumes are sales tools. Just because applicants sound like a perfect addition to the practice on paper, it doesn’t mean they are.

- Before bringing in candidates for face-to-face interviews, speak with them over the phone. You’ll save everyone a lot of time and heartache if it’s clear they’re just not right for the role.

- Ask open-ended questions during face-to-face interviews. Don’t let candidates give vague answers. Learn as much about them and their relevant experience as possible.

- Before you extend an official job offer, conduct personality tests and background checks. I also suggest reaching out to their references.

Once you go through this process, you’re much more likely to hire someone who is well suited for the job, and who will alleviate some of the stress you feel each day, not add to it.

Embrace your role as practice CEO. Many dentists are reluctant to take on the business responsibilities that come with practice ownership. They’d much rather focus on the clinical side and ignore everything else. That is a great way to damage your practice and send your blood pressure skyrocketing.

If you want to reduce your stress level, it’s time to overcome your business-related hang ups and really embrace your role as practice CEO. Be the leader your team members need, and you’ll find everyone’s days are much less stressful. I suggest you consider attending my Dentist CEO course to offer guidance. You’ll gain confidence in your leadership abilities, and that will benefit the entire practice.

Remember you don’t have to do it all. Some dentists avoid the business aspects of practice ownership like the plague, while others think they need to control every little detail. This second group struggles with trusting others to properly complete their tasks and because of that, end up doing much more than they really should. The result? Team members who never truly take ownership of their systems, and a whole lot of extra stress.

If this describes you, I suggest you start giving up some control. Trust your team members to do the jobs you hired them to do. Your days will be less stressful, and you’ll have more time to spend with your patients. Team members also will enjoy more job satisfaction, which will lead to a more efficient, more productive practice.

Help your team members help you. As nice as it would be, your employees aren’t mind readers. If you leave them guessing about their role in the practice and your expectations, it’s just going to create a stressful situation for everyone.

As the practice CEO, you’re responsible for providing team members with the guidance they need to be successful. This comes in the form of detailed job descriptions, continual feedback and proper training. When team members have all three, their performance will improve. They’ll be more confident and more productive, and that will be a huge stress reliever.

Stress is part of life, but it shouldn’t control your day. Making these changes will help reduce the stress that is holding you back from meeting your full potential, leading to a more efficient, profitable practice with happier team members and patients.

Next Thursday: Stress-busting tips for a more productive practice Share this Newsletter

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