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Don’t be like a politician in your dental practice

Turn on any cable news at any hour, and you’re bound to see politicians with different perspectives really getting into it with each other. Unfortunately, the majority of their comments have nothing to do with helping their constituents. Most of them are so entrenched in their party line politics that they’re not listening to the other. They’re more concerned about winning an argument than solving problems and discussing real issues.
This makes me think about teamwork. When you work in a dental practice, you’re part of a team. Of course, disagreements will arise from time to time. But I wonder . . . if you saw yourself as a working member of a greater whole rather than just as an individual, would you approach conflict differently?

Let’s say you feel one staff member isn’t pulling his or her weight. There are two very different options for handling this situation: complain and attack; or approach the person sympathetically and ask if he or she needs help.

The first choice addresses an individual’s (your) concern―how this person’s behavior is affecting you. The second choice addresses the team’s concern. If a team member is struggling and the ultimate goal is to create an effective and pleasant working environment, then you must figure out how to help the person who is having trouble.

The next time you find yourself at odds with a coworker, stop and think before you act. Are you approaching the situation from a team perspective, or are you focusing on your own concerns and interests? As a practice owner, your ultimate concern should be the team’s success. You will personally benefit on almost every level—financial success, stress reduction, time savings, and more—when you adopt a team first approach to the many challenges that will surface every day in your dental practice.


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