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Mind Your Business Supporting Your Practice

Providing outstanding care: 5 Tips for leading your team


Dental TeamThis resource is courtesy of the American Dental Association, published in their latest JADA edition (February 2015): Five tips for leading your team.

Roger P. Levin, DDS

1. Establish a professional work environment

  • Employees typically emulate their leader’s behavior, whether positive or negative.
  • Responsible leaders, though, recognize that they must consistently be the kind of staff member they are asking others to be.
  • Rather than chastising individuals for thinking or behaving a certain way, the leader should coach them on how to overcome a particular frustration.

2. Express empathy

  • When a team member is struggling, a little compassion makes it easier to shift that person’s focus back to practice performance.

3. Provide structured feedback

  • It is the practice leader’s responsibility to maintain awareness of how staff members are performing and to provide accurate direction.
  • All staff member positions in a dental practice should have a written job description so that expectations are clear.
  • Performance reviews should be conducted on a consistent basis (usually once a year) in a structured meeting between the dentist and the employee.
  • These meetings are not about criticism but about guiding and mentoring team members to perform at consistently high levels.

4. Show appreciation

  • Inspiring leaders go out of their way to express gratitude for a job well done.
  • Providing a quick compliment to team members is an easy way to create and spread goodwill throughout the office.
  • Dentists should promptly recognize those who finish a task quickly, deliver excellent customer service, or simply complete a difficult activity with a positive attitude.

5. Delegate as much as possible

  • During clinical care, all nonclinical duties should be delegated to other team members.
  • Brief morning gatherings enable the dentist to share essential information with the team without interrupting patient appointments.
  • With the proper systems in place, delegation will allow the staff to work efficiently and take ownership of their roles in contributing to practice success.


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