Running a profitable dental practice where everyone is set up to succeed takes a team effort. When everyone’s skills, experiences, and interests complement each other and the entire team works together, every team member will be supported and set up to succeed.
No matter what position, credentials, or experience you have, one of the best things you can do to advance in your practice is to be a team player. When team members don’t work together, the entire practice suffers. Work will need to get redone. People won’t do their best work. And practice leadership will not be able to delegate with confidence. And when practice leadership can’t delegate with confidence, it reflects poorly on the team members.
So how can you become a team player in your practice so everyone feels supported and is able to do their best work? Here are four suggestions.
Be open to change.
In dental practices, everyone has to wear different hats. That goes for any business. And it applies to everyone in the practice, not just the dentist and practice owner. No matter what your position, be open to rolling up your sleeves and helping out when team members need help.
Be ready for change and open for it. The best team players are open to change and can be versatile. They can substitute in for multiple roles. Don’t ever take the position of “That’s not in my job description” if someone needs your help. That’s not the mentality of a good team player. As the practice grows, there might come a time when you are asked to do additional things until a new team member is onboarded. That’s a good sign. It means practice leadership trusts you and values you as a team player.
Don’t create drama.
Drama creates conflict, which destroys productivity, morale, and can cost a pretty penny. A study conducted in 2008 found that U.S. employees spent 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict. This amounts to approximately $359 billion in paid hours (based on average hourly earnings of $17.95), or the equivalent of 385 million working days. If you’re costing the practice money because you’re creating conflict and drama, you can be sure you won’t be a team member for long. If you’re the dentist, you can be sure drama will mean your practice is much less profitable and productive than it could be.
To avoid creating drama, avoid gossiping about others. Have a positive attitude, and treat all your coworkers equally well. Do your best to ignore titles. Everyone in the practice is equally important. If all team members focus on the value each other provides in their role, your entire team will see how important and valuable each person is to each other person’s success and the practice as a whole. A drama-free practice is a great place to work.
Stick to your schedule.
People rely on you to stick to your schedule. Whatever schedule is set for you, show up on time, every time, and avoid changing your schedule at the last minute. Patients, practice leadership, and team members are relying on you to be there when expected.
If you get sick and can’t come in, follow sick-leave processes carefully. Can you ask someone to cover your shift so you already have a solution when you call out? That’s a great sign of a team player. Don’t leave your team members working twice as hard to cover for your absence. You can be sure they won’t appreciate it. And if the practice is understaffed and team members are rushing through patient appointments, patient experience will suffer.
Put in a consistent effort.
If it’s up to you to prepare the tray, sterilize the tools, or stock supplies, do it. As simple as it sounds, team members who do their work well every time are highly valued. When practice leadership says, “I never have to worry” about whether your work is done well, that’s a good sign you’re a valued team player.
We all get tired or have distractions in our personal lives, but avoid letting them get in the way of you performing your job well every time. Finally, just like in your home, clean up after yourself. It takes a little extra effort but doing something as simple as putting stuff back where you found it so other people can find it next time goes a long way.
Are you a team player in your practice?
Being a team player is one of the best qualities any team member can have. Do you do these things consistently? What else do you suggest doing (or not doing) to become a valuable team player?
Let us know in the comments so your colleagues around the world can build better careers! Also, be sure to join the Dental Hub 360 Facebook group today! There, you can find great deals in dentistry, advice from dental professionals around the world, and tons of positivity!