Using ‘Soft’ Skills to Turn a Good Office to a Great Office

I am finding the atmosphere in dental offices right now is currently full on winter blahs. Everyone is missing vacation time away from the office, the feeling of sun on our skin, the joy of flying down a snow-covered mountain or visiting a culture different than our own. A consequence that I am seeing is the lack of positivity running through offices. This slide can happen without anyone even realizing it and then it is harder to pull both ourselves and teams back to a positive state.

Dentistry is a profession where hard skills rule your day; you already have full confidence in your technique and in your diagnostic skills. It is your soft skills with both your team and your patients though, that will take your from being a good office to a great office

  • You can only control what you can control. This sounds very simple, but you can’t become negative over scenarios that you don’t have control over. Your reaction and response to any situation is what is important. If you use COVID as an excuse for everything going wrong right now then you have a choice, you can either decide this is our new reality let’s make the best of it or you can sit back and wallow in “whoa is me.” The choice is totally in your control. If you purposefully choose to make the best of any situation, you will find your attitude and that of those around you will change as well.
  • You need to focus on solutions instead of the complaints. We can all get mired in listening to the complaints of daily life in a dental office, this only perpetuates a negative atmosphere. There are teams that I have worked with where I have taken the popular “No Complaints Rule” and we practice that for a day, a week or a month. It is amazing to see how attitudes can change when people know that they must come up with a solution that goes along with their complaint. An example of this might be “I am finding that I am always the one doing the monthly maintenance instead of it being shared by all of the clinical team. It would be helpful if we had a schedule to ensure that this task is fairly divided.”  This is far better than pointing fingers at others who may not be doing their share of the workload. 
  • We all need to embrace change, if your current scenario isn’t working for you then change is what you need to get the results that you want. We all know that change is messy and can be confusing yet embracing that change will lead to improvement and growth. Embracing the waves of change will challenge you and your team to grow to where you want to be. Keeping your attitude positive through change will provide the leadership that your team needs to follow you. Tune out the noise to stay focused on your goals and you will see your office performance improving.

You spend at least a third of every workday in your office. As the leaders it is your responsibility to ensure that you are creating an atmosphere of positivity. Your worries and your stresses need to be handled with grace so as not to infect the entire office. Looking for solutions and embracing change may mean that you are the one making the difficult choices, staying status quo because it “kind of” worked in the past isn’t good enough anymore. Your response is the only thing you control, choose positivity and change to achieve your goals.

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