PROACTIVE PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
On many occasions, I have come to know practices that are operating extremely well, are profitable, and employ a stable staff. All until something happens: a spouse is transferred, pregnancy, or a move to (allegedly) greener pastures. What was once a well-run machine now has a wrench thrown in the works. Successful management of this type of event will depend largely on the strength of the practices' personnel management and the leadership abilities of the doctor.
Whenever a new employee is acquired and introduced into the practice at any position, careful thought and consideration must be given to the person's skills, ability to meet the qualifications of the job, and personality traits. After checking the new hire's references and verifying skill level, what may be most difficult to ascertain during the interview process is the candidate's personality style.
There are four distinct
personality traits. Learning these traits, understanding them, and embracing
the fact that everyone is different is the first step towards blending
people together as a team. A combination of these traits among the members
of the team will help your office relate to a broader spectrum of people
who frequent your practice.
These personality traits exist today in every dental office among all team members. Despite pre-conceived notions, there's no specific personality trait for each position. Not all excellent administrative or front office workers are "Controllers or Directors"; not all great dental assistants are "Promoters or Cheerleaders".
Consider your own personality. A dentist could have any one of these personality traits and find harmony as well as conflict with other traits. This is true for the rest of your team. And keep in mind; this is true of your patients and their families who frequent your practice.
Blending these personality traits brings into focus the big picture. As a team, you will be better able to relate to a wide variety of people in ways that make them feel comfortable. You will in turn build trust and confidence in their minds for your ability to care for them.
Here are some down-to-earth
approaches that you and your team can undertake that will help make
use of workplace styles and personalities. Consider first the application
among yourselves, then apply them where appropriate to patient services:
Understand your differences: Pay attention to feedback, assimilate it
and apply it to solving issues or praising for a job well done.
2. Keep lines of communication open: Address any concerns immediately before they snowball.
3. Be Proactive: Develop a knack for thinking ahead.
4. Keep everyone in the loop: People don't like surprises or embarrassment. When things are going well, a short message or conversation, would suffice. When a problem arises, don't hide it; explain and offer solutions.
5. Be a rock: Show up early, meet deadlines and volunteer to help others when you have free time.
6. Don't take criticism personally: Keep an open mind, control your emotions and stand up for yourself, politely, but firmly.
7. Don't play games: Never criticize or gossip about people, and mind your own business.
8. Know people's quirks and accommodate them: Does he/she prefer notes, formal memos, or communication face-to-face?
9. Pitch ideas: Make sure they're reasoned, solution-oriented and will benefit the function of the practice, not just to make your own workload easier.
10. Speak clearly: Collect your thoughts, write down what is needed or be concise when verbalizing your needs.
11. Stay Cool: Avoid losing your temper. Don't be defensive. Control emotions and hold back negativity in self and among the team. Be positive and sensible in dealing with workplace conflict.
Building great relationships with people at every turn is key to good management, and ever more important in today's changing times. A sluggish economy has forced layoffs and other cutbacks in businesses of any size, resulting in high stress, low moral, and concerns about job security. People have fewer options in terms of walking away, and keeping a job has more to do with demonstrating both technical and interpersonal skills. During the late 1990's, dentistry was experiencing widespread growth and prosperity. In comparison, it's more difficult to sustain growth and profit today.
No matter how experienced a person is, it is inevitable that conflict within the work place will arise. It's inevitable because its human nature. Handling conflict in such a way that it creates an alliance, rather than an obstacle, is the result of successful management of people.
Small businesses such as dental offices rely on outstanding people performance. Managing people and personalities are the foundation for retaining patients, keeping an excellent team of people, and sustaining profits.