Reduce Your Stress Level with These 4 Tips
There’s a lot that goes into owning a dental practice, and it can all seem a bit overwhelming at times. Not only are you responsible for diagnosing and treating patients, you also have to focus on all the business aspects that come with the territory, including hiring team members, serving as a leader and growing practice revenues. Yes, owning a dental practice sure can be stressful.
While some stress is normal, if it’s a constant in your practice then it’s keeping you from meeting your full potential. You’re not nearly as effective as you could be if you’re always frazzled, and that could hurt production numbers as well as team morale (which in turn leads to more stress). Finding ways to reduce your stress levels will do wonders for your practice and help you enjoy dentistry again. Want to know how? Here are my four tips:
1. Start acting like a CEO. I know, I know. You didn’t go into dentistry because you wanted to be a small business owner. You prefer to focus on the clinical and let the rest just sort itself out. Sorry, but ignoring the business side of running a practice will cause damage and yes, elevate your stress levels. To be successful, you really need to embrace your role as practice CEO. Not sure how? I suggest you start by attending practice management CE courses or bringing in a consultant to guide you.
2. Hire the right team members. A strong, supportive team will help move the practice toward success and profitability, making your days a lot less stressful. A weak team, on the other hand, will do nothing but hold your practice back – which is why it’s so important to hire the right people. Instead of offering a job to the first person you see with an impressive resume, I suggest you develop a hiring process and follow it.
What should be part of this process, you ask? Let me break it down for you:
- Creating job descriptions for each role
While it might take you longer to fill open positions, going through these steps will help ensure you hire the best person for the job.
3. Give your team members the direction they crave. Providing team members with guidance is a vital part of being an effective CEO. If you don’t, they’ll feel lost and unsure of themselves – causing stress for everyone in the practice. How can you provide team members with the direction they need to be successful? Create detailed job descriptions to make it clear exactly what’s expected of them, offer continual feedback so they know where they excel and where they can improve, and provide the training they need to properly do their jobs. Performance will improve as will team morale, helping to dial back everyone’s stress level.
4. Give up some control. While many dentists prefer to avoid the business side of practice ownership, there are others who are the exact opposite. These dentists want to be in control of every detail and have difficulty trusting that employees will properly complete their tasks. This means team members never truly take ownership of their systems, leading to stress and frustration.
Just because you’re the practice leader doesn’t mean you should have your hands in every detail. You don’t have that kind of time. If letting go is something you struggle with, I suggest you truly make an effort to give up some control. Trust your team members to perform the jobs you hired them for. While the thought might send you into a panic, believe me, it’s worth it. You’ll have more time to spend with patients and a lot less stress to manage. Another bonus? Team members will be more satisfied with their jobs, boosting morale and even making your practice more productive.
While you’ll never avoid stress altogether, there are ways to significantly reduce it in your practice for both you and your team members. Alleviating stress will renew your passion for dentistry and help you remember why you wanted to become a dentist in the first place. You’ll find it’s easier to meet daily production goals and reach your full potential.
Still not sure how to get your stress under control? Not to worry. Give me a call and I’ll help lower your stress levels and get your practice back on the right track.
Next week: Eliminate these common practice stressors and grow your practice
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email email@example.com
How to Get “Buy-In” From Your Dental Team
Everyone uses the term “we need to be on the same page” when talking about teamwork and team engagement. But what does it truly mean for everyone to be together in what they do at work?
The process starts with hiring the right fit for your particular practice needs. Hoping to get someone on board with the practice philosophy, values and mission statement after hiring is like buying a race horse to pull a wagon – the wrong person can be challenging to convince. What if this person looks at their work as “just a job”, or worse just a paycheck, and their idea of doing the work is clocking in, doing the minimum, and clocking out?
For me, my work must be a passion and have purpose – not just a way to pay the bills. But I cannot foist my values on someone just because they work for me. I have to find the right people before they come to work for me.
You may be thinking: “I have a team with a mixture of values and commitment strengths, and I don’t want to fire them for not thinking just like me. Now what do I do?”
First off, appreciate each team member for their strengths and show you value these attributes by thanking them every day for their service. Build on strengths and work on improving areas that are amiss. Offer further training or coaching in weaker areas. Get together with the purpose of creating a team of enthusiastic partners in patient care and customer service. That is what providing dentistry is all about, and what you need for a successful, profitable and emotionally fulfilling practice.
You may have a vision for the practice and goals set to get there, but have you communicated that vision to your dental team? Just because you see it, doesn’t mean your team does. Head off misunderstandings by doing this:
• Offer solid and logical reasoning for the vision. Giving over-glorified speeches won’t be enough to sway the skeptics if they are thinking: “What dental conference or seminar is this idea coming from?”
• Identify your key message and deliver it consistently to all levels of the practice, from front desk to clinical support staff and all producers such as hygienists and associates.
• Ask for feedback and ideas. When you invite others to help you shape the vision, you are showing you are open and receptive to their ideas. Questions to ask:
Getting everyone enthusiastic requires the leader/dentist or managers to lead by doing, living and focusing on the positive daily. For instance, you want everyone present for the morning huddle and prepared with their reports, but you are often late showing up in the morning. The leader must create excitement towards achieving goals and provide a road map in the direction you want to lead your team. Don’t be an excuse for poor behavior.
Never stop inviting dialogue in the form of positive ideas to support or create change that will help everyone. Make your practice standout by building your brand so your team really feels like a team. Have coffee mugs, t-shirts, water bottles or backpacks with your logo printed. Provide these gifts as rewards for excellent service when you see the action. Have little trophies for rewards such as “Best Excuse for Coming in Late” and “Always Willing to Help Out” to help build that team engagement you are striving for. Provide VIP parking for the Employee of the Month. Send handwritten thank-you notes with a little chocolate gift or gift card to a nice coffee shop for a positive interaction with a patient.
Want to establish the best dental business systems so your team can grow and take pride and ownership of their work? Reach out to the experts at McKenzie Management for help in reaching your vision and goals with the success you deserve.
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