Unlike many other professionals, dentists face the challenge of being both practitioners and managers. Managing and motivating your employees requires you to view your practice not only as a dentist, but also as a leader. Are you doing what it takes to lead your team where you want your practice to go? Use the methods below regularly, and your staff, patients and wallet will reap the rewards.

Assess, Streamline, Nurture

In his leading-edge book for dentists, Everything is Marketing, Fred Joyal refers to an A-B-C employee rating system that helps you determine who to keep – and who to let go – in your staff. According to the book, “A” employees are exemplary, positive people who set the example for competent “B” employees who are still learning what it takes. “C” employees are those who negatively affect both the morale and success of your practice, and the ones who Joyal recommends you let go.

But it doesn’t end there. Once you’ve assessed your staff and streamlined so only key players remain in the game, Lisa Knowles, DDS advises that you evolve ways to nurture staff as they evolve in your practice. To do so, consider the following questions:

  • What are your employees’ individual needs and challenges?
  • Does each employee seem to enjoy working at your practice and associating with staff members?
  • Are you consistently creating opportunities for the employee to leverage his/her own unique strengths?

Master Sincere Praise

Recognizing an employee’s contributions to your team is a key way to ensure they keep up the good work. Be sure to praise each employee for specific reasons. For example, if your Dental Hygienist did an excellent job comforting a high needs patient, replace general statements like “good job with that tough patient” with a more targeted remark, such as: “That patient has struggled for months to stay calm during cleanings. You were such a big help in putting her at ease – thank you.”

When you keep only the best contributing staff on your team, nurture their progress by getting to know their needs, challenges, and strengths, and make sure you recognize their contributions appropriately – you help manage and motivate your team effectively. What are your struggles and successes when it comes to staff management and motivation? Share in the comments.