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a blog by Chris Barrow

Lockdown Leadership - Part 2: Communicating with your salaried team

It's time to stop consuming the conversation and start creating the conversation

Having considered your communication with patients in Part 1, it's time now to turn our attention to your salaried team members.

At the time of writing, I'm noticing that many have been furloughed, whether NHS, mixed or private, because Principals have taken the view that they need the Government's financial support for payroll, irrespective of whether the NHS team members will subsequently be redeployed.

Frustratingly, even as I compose this post on the morning of 1st April, we are still awaiting clarification from NHS and the BDA as to how the redeployment rules will work in mixed practice and my Daily Briefings are filled with such questions.

I'm led to believe that the BDA are working flat out behind the scenes to obtain that clarity and we should spare a moment to acknowledge the work being done on behalf of members. Perhaps by the time you read this, an official announcement will have been made - if so, we will discuss the consequences on the Daily Briefing, Thursday's Business Confidence Forum or elsewhere online.

For now, irrespective of what happens next, let's think about your role as a leader to your team.

I hope you don't get bored with hearing me say that the new C-word right now isn't Covid - it is Communication.

I find myself (along with a few others) carrying the flag for dentistry in the lockdown debate, because I was agile, flexible, quick off the mark in establishing the briefings and forums, whilst others were either pondering their politically correct response or doing nothing at all. Not only did we carry the flag, we captured it (remember that kid's game?).

I'm going to add that, in addition to general support for the profession last week, I also created the time for over 30 individual Zoom calls with my existing cohort of 2020 coaching clients, to make sure they were OK and discuss my proposal for lockdown coaching (which evolved in to our Regeneration Programme).

As a business owner, responsible for a team, you have the same opportunity. It is essential that you take the initiative in initiating a series of touch points with your lockdown and/or redeployment teams, so that they know you are never going to be far away.

As a team

In the last few days I have become aware of owners who are using Zoom to arrange regular Group meetings so that team members can join from home.

In this way, they can be kept informed of what the owner is doing, the activities of any team members who have been retained on active duty at the practice and the wider picture of what's going on in dentistry.

Remember that team members may not be glued to the BDA Live Updates and perhaps on the end of a flow of potentially depressing media comment.

It's important that you demonstrate proactivity now and confidence in the future.

As we move further into lockdown, the mental health issues are going to become more important. If you think you have cabin fever now, give it another 10 weeks.

Every Monday you should meet with your team online and agree tasks that will give them something else to focus on, other than the media and domestic responsibilities. Through portals like The Extreme Business Academy, Dentinal Tubules and others, you can agree CPD goals and agree follow up group meetings to discuss what you have learned.

As part of the Regeneration programme, I'll be providing a weekly tutorial on how to get through lockdown and to prepare for the all-clear. That, plus over 40 hours of CPD in our Academy (currently free of charge) and all the other providers out there, gives you more than enough material to work with.

You might also consider having some fun with them, perhaps establish a lockdown Book Club, set everyone a goal to read a novel or biography and have an online discussion on a target date.

Be creative, be whacky, have some fun.

Today, I'll be joining a team of over 25 people at a large ortho practice, who have decided to use Microsoft Teams as a platform and are asking me to make a weekly guest appearance.

Hi Chris

We are all set up which is great and we are planning for remote staff customised training.

I am building a learning and development plan and we would love to book you as a guest (VIP) speaker at 2pm every Thursday starting this week (this is already booked).

Our classroom is "open" from 1:30pm and maybe you can dial in at 2pm each time for a 30 minutes motivational and powerful bespoke lecture?

Sure I can.

May I also make special mention of those who are either redeployed or are volunteering.

They are going to need special attention and appreciation for the work they do and your group calls can be a forum in which they can perhaps download their experiences and feelings in a safe place and receive comfort and support from their colleagues.

One further point - I mentioned yesterday that your patients need to know what your team are up to. Make sure that you remind the team every week to collect and collate photography and videography on what they are up, whether furloughed or redeployed, as part of the human interest communication to your patients.

As individuals

As a leader, be mindful of the individuals in your team.

Each of us will react and respond to the current crisis in very different ways and we know that some are more resilient than others.

I'll be using our weekly tracker to stay connected to my clients and their teams every week and I'll be reading between the lines in their reports, emails and video calls to spot any tell-tale signs of stress and anxiety.

We'll talk later in this series about looking after yourself - but, for now, look after your team and, when we return to the new normal, the right team members will look after you.

Choose a channel:

  • Group video calls

  • A Whatsapp group

  • Facebook Messenger

  • A private Facebook Page

  • Slack

The capture the flag as a leader.

As part of The Extreme Business Regeneration Programme, we will be guiding our clients on that lockdown team communication each day and providing them with a weekly team tutorial to survive lockdown and prepare for their return to work.

This morning we have 50 (up from 41 yesterday) dental practices who have joined the Regeneration Programme and who will be working with me and each other over the next three months.

Come and join us - a community who are going to stay ahead of the curve during lockdown and emerge ready for the new normal.

Details are HERE.

Tomorrow in Part 3, I'll consider how best to communicate with your self-employed associates, therapists and hygienists.

Please share these posts and spread the confidence in these uncertain times.

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