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a blog by Chris Barrow

“Is it just me?” 10 frequently asked questions from dental bosses in 2023 - by Mark Topley

Over the last year, the bi-monthly calls of the Great Boss Academy have involved a number of recurring questions from practice principals and managers seeking to solve some of the biggest challenges they face day to day. It's these questions, brought up time and again by my members, that led me to create something I hope will be genuinely useful: “10 Questions Every ‘Great Boss’ in Dentistry Needs Answered.”

This isn't just a video guide; it's a collection of the most common challenges and solutions shared amongst peers dedicated to improving their practices. We've discussed, and now I’ve compiled the wisdom that has bubbled up from these real-world conversations into a straightforward resource.

Is it just you? Almost certainly not - here are the issues covered in the video guide, and a few pointers on what we’ve learned:

Motivating a dental team, for instance, isn't just about inspiring for the moment but connecting the day-to-day tasks with the impactful purpose of patient wellbeing. It's about recognising hard work not just in passing comments but in tangible rewards that elevate a job well done to a celebrated achievement. And when it comes to decision-making, inclusivity is key—allowing the team to steer the practice’s course instils a powerful sense of ownership.

Communication is the lifeblood of any successful team, and in a dental practice, it's no different. It's about transforming brief morning huddles into pivotal moments of connection, ensuring everyone's on the same page. An open-door policy isn't merely a sign on the wall but an invitation for feedback, questions, and suggestions—a bid to strengthen trust. In this digital age, leveraging technology means creating efficient channels for chatter, chatter that aligns, informs, and unites.

When disagreements arise, as they inevitably do, handling conflict becomes an art. It's not just about quelling the storm but navigating through it with empathy and understanding, leaving the team stronger on the other side. Training isn't just a formal exercise but an essential toolkit for turning a clash of views into a constructive conversation.

Developing leadership within the ranks of dental associates means looking beyond the day-to-day and investing in the future. Mentorship isn’t merely guidance; it’s a partnership in professional growth. Providing resources and opportunities for leadership isn’t just about ticking boxes but nurturing potential that could spearhead the practice’s success in years to come.

Creating a positive workplace culture is akin to tending a garden—it requires care, consistency, and a vision for growth. It's about embodying the positivity we wish to see, advocating for a work-life balance that sustains enthusiasm, and cultivating a practice where improvement is the norm, not the exception.

In the realm of performance goals, the SMART methodology is not just an acronym but a blueprint for setting targets that challenge, excite, and inspire. Regular reviews and adapting strategies ensure goals are not just set but achieved and celebrated, fostering a cycle of success and motivation.

Patient interactions, especially when they veer into the territory of complaints, can be delicate. Here, handling patient experiences deftly is vital. Training in empathy and a clear protocol for complaints transforms challenging interactions into opportunities for enhancement and affirmation of the practice's dedication to patient care.

Team collaboration is critical, especially when each member may as well be a cog in a larger machine. Encouraging cross-disciplinary interaction, knowledge-sharing, and the use of collaborative tools ensures that every member of the team is working together towards a unified goal—exceptional patient care.

For those juggling the dual responsibilities of clinical duties and leadership, finding balance is essential. It’s about the strategic delegation of tasks, setting boundaries, and, if necessary, expanding the team to ensure leadership is a focused effort, not a sideline activity.

Finally, staying abreast of leadership trends is an ongoing journey of learning. It involves engaging with the latest thinking, absorbing new ideas through books and conferences, and fostering a culture where team insights contribute to the leadership narrative.

The "10 Questions Every ‘Great Boss’ in Dentistry Needs Answered" is a bit more than a guide; it's the distillation of a whole range of wisdom into actionable insights. It’s a resource designed to empower practice leaders on their mission to build successful teams.

For those ready to take the first steps, the guide awaits. It’s a journey to reinvigorate not just your practice as a business, but the lives of those who make it what it is.

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