Over the years, I have come to meet some amazing dental professionals.   Ones who are are committed, hungry, passionate and unwavering in the delivery of the care they provide.  In fact, many of whom I would have scooped up and brought on board with us…but for the risk of being considered the dental team burglar!

Dental professionals are caregivers by nature and are some of the kindest, most dedicated people I know.  But every now and again, as we gather around the team punchbowl there is someone who decides to take the proverbial you-know-what right into the beautiful ice ring floating in our bowl of team deliciousness. And to add unpleasantness to the resulting splash into the sweet, crimson liquid these team members throw out an additional stink with resolute statements like,  “Oh, I see Mary’s on the schedule today.  Oh boy…we’ve been telling her she needs a crown for two years!  She’ll never do it so don’t waste your time” or “Don’t mention that treatment to Joe.  He’s used all of his insurance for this year and he can’t afford it” or “Don’t  do the FMX today…she still hasn’t paid me for her last visit so just hurry and don’t spend a lot of time”.  When she is not setting limitations to the day with the preceding comments, she is busy micro-managing, polarizing and will never delegate as the expose would be frightful.  These team members often work under the shroud of “I’m so busy and overloaded”, yet seem to aways have a steaming hot cup of coffee at their desk and a few calls per day from friends and family.

Can anyone relate?   These employees are so busy coming up with reasons why we can’t do what needs to be done they lose sight of the possibility that other ways exist. Meanwhile, your other team members are working in a very frustrating  environment. These employees  are  detracting from the very offices they claim to promote.  And they know who they are.  They are the ones who feed on unrest stemming from a  lack of confidence and skills.  These traits filter down through everyone in the form of bullying, wave making, spiteful behavior and lost patients..  None of which have any place in a business, certainly not a business that derives its livelihood caring for others. 

Times are a changin’ doctors and the patients of today are discerning.  And they have choices.  And don’t think for a second that the office environment doesn’t fill the air our patients breathe.  And doctors, you know who these people are too. 

Let me translate some of the excuses I hear:

“She has been with me for 20 years”

Translation: She has been creating havoc on other team members for 20 years and they’ve left, or learned to accept it. Not to mention the detriment to my financial success.

“She is here every day working after everyone leaves”

Translation: She is inefficient with her time during working hours

“She is very protective of me”

Translation: She is bullying everyone else – brown nose extraordinaire

“She knows all of our patients so well”

Translation: And I guarantee some like her and others can’t stand the way she speaks to them, but they love you.

“My assistant gets along fine with her”

Translation: Well you have 3 other employees who do not

My favorite and most exasperating …“She won’t do it”

Translation: WHAT???

But here is the most important translation of all.  Each of the above excuses has one thing in common.  They say to your positive, hard-working, dedicated team members “You don’t matter” 

So dump the punch bowl and start fresh.  Invest in training and team support.  Insist that  each team member bring an ingredient for a delicious blend.  Establish a culture guide and require that your team adhere to its processes and hold them accountable.  There is no room in dentistry for bad behavior.  Clean it up doctors and I guarantee you will see an immediate change in productivity along with a very happy team.

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