Mirror, Mirror on the Wall - Why Can't I Have it All?
There you are a bright, talented individual and an excellent clinician. You have a good team - maybe not great - but certainly dedicated and hardworking. So why is it that some days, more than you care to admit, feel like the ultimate uphill battle? Sure, there are times when you sit back and are simply relieved because you've managed to enjoy an extended period with no major crises, no major calamities - and then it all breaks loose. Seriously? Why can't you and your team settle into smooth sailing? Because you're the one rocking the boat and you don't even realize it.
Let me explain. Human nature is such that we tend to blame others for our challenges. Many dentists reach a point in their careers where they think that accepting the frustrations is easier than changing behaviors or changing systems. The truth is it’s easier to settle in and tell yourself, “You can’t get good help.” “Employees really don’t care anymore.” “Some things will never change, so why should I bother trying to change them.” “This is just the way I am.”
That attitude, of course, translates into the reality that if you do things as you've always done them, you will continue to get the same results. And if you are content with that then fine, stop complaining about your team. Stop blaming them for the fact that you will not address the problems or the system shortfalls. Stop whining when employees leave your practice to work for another doctor. Stop wondering why you seem to have suffered more than other dentists during the economic challenges of the last few years.
You are the captain of your ship, doctor, and although there are days when you would happily turnover the rudder to someone else, your team looks to you to lead, to set the standard, to create an environment that fosters productivity and teamwork. In the coming weeks, rather than complaining about others or lamenting your circumstances, pay attention to your behaviors. If you find yourself engaging in the following destructive/counter-productive actions, take responsibility for them and commit to change.
You micromanage - stop swooping in and taking over. Stop leaving post-it notes around the office with your so-called “instructions.” If you don’t like the way “Jane” is setting up the tray or you are trotting up to the front desk to tell “Betsy” how you want Mrs. Smith scheduled, you need to take a close look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’ve given “Jane” and “Betsy” the necessary direction, training, and tools to effectively perform their duties in the manner that you want. It is demoralizing when bosses micromanage. It’s also unproductive and extremely expensive because if you are too busy being the assistant and the scheduler and the hygienist, who, doctor, is going to be the doctor?
You are cagey - stop keeping secrets. When you are guarded and evasive, staff do not trust you. You are the leader of a small team of people. Each relies on the other to be forthcoming and honest. If you repeatedly say that the practice is not doing as well financially as it should be but fail to provide specifics or fail to pursue avenues to change the course or fail to get outside assistance when you need it, look in the mirror. You have only yourself to blame. You are creating an atmosphere of anxiety and trepidation among the team. They can’t address the problems because they don’t know what they are. All they know is that “things are not good.” And please do not say that you don’t want to “burden” your team or “reveal too much.” That is the coward’s way of avoiding the real world difficulties that sometimes even you, doctor, don’t have the answers to. Communication among the team is critical to discovering and addressing problems long before they become full-blown crises.
Next week, If only they would do this … and other excuses that are holding you back.
Want more of me? Click here to visit my blog, The Lighter Side, for more Dental Practice Management info.
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