When to Hold On and When to Let Go

“To Let Go or To Not Let Go… That Is The Question”

Managing team dynamics is an important part of the office managers role. In fact, one could say that managing the talent inside the practice from the dentist themselves down to the janitor is the number one priority for an office manager. I mean, let’s be honest, without employees, you have no practice. 

Every team member plays a crucial role in delivering quality care. However, there are occasions when certain team members may not meet the expectations or fit the culture of the practice. Deciding whether to invest in their development or to part ways requires careful consideration. 

Below are strategies for both retaining and responsibly letting go of team members.

Strategies for Retaining Team Members

1. Targeted Training and Development

Invest in personalized development plans that address specific areas of improvement. This could involve skills training, communication workshops, or leadership coaching, depending on the individual’s role and deficiencies. 

Invest in their growth. Provide for them the tools to succeed which will enhance their performance and quicken their integration into the team.

2. Clear Communication of Expectations

Often, team members underperform because they are not clear about what is expected of them. Ensure that each team member understands their roles and the standards to which they are held. 

Regular performance reviews and feedback sessions can help keep everyone on track and clarify any misunderstandings.

3. Reassignment

Before deciding to let go of a team member, consider whether they might be a better fit in a different role within the practice. Sometimes, poor performance is a matter of mismatched job roles rather than a lack of capability or motivation. Assess their skills and interests to see if a different position could be more suitable.

Strategies for Letting Go of Team Members

Unfortunately, there are times when the only answer is to part ways. While this can be a stressful situation at times, it can also be completed successfully. Take a look at these following tactics and see how you are doing against them. 

1. Document Performance Issues

Ensure that all performance issues are well-documented, including dates, specifics of the incidents, and any previous warnings given. This documentation is crucial both for legal protection and for the team member to understand the reasons behind their dismissal.

2. Conduct a Respectful Termination Meeting

When the decision to let go is made, it should be communicated professionally and respectfully. Hold a private meeting to discuss the reasons for the decision clearly and calmly. Allow the team member to express their views and ensure they understand the decision is about fit and performance, not personal worth.

One organization referred to its termination process as the “promoting to customer program.” And as harsh as that may sound, they reported that everyone knew this as the policy and if you were called into the office to be terminated under this ‘program’ you knew it before walking in. This was the ‘you’re still welcome here, but you’re simply not the right fit for the team’ approach. The organization stated that when people knew they were going to be terminated before the meeting took place 88% of the time the employees thanked them for holding their lackluster performance accountable.  

3. Offer Support After Termination

Provide support in the form of career counseling or job search assistance to help the former team member transition to new opportunities. This not only helps soften the impact of the dismissal but also maintains a positive relationship and reputation, which is important for the morale of the remaining team.


Deciding whether to retain or release a team member is one of the more challenging aspects of managing a dental practice. Through applying thoughtful strategies to either develop or respectfully part ways with team members, practice leaders can ensure they maintain a dynamic and productive team environment. 

Whether through development or parting ways, the goal is always to foster a team that upholds the practice’s standards of care and contributes positively to its culture.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Get our accountability guide and learn how to transform your dental practice & create lasting results

Everyday I see dental practices make crucial mistakes that burnout their teams and turn away patients. I’ll show you how to change all that in this guide. Download the guide – it’s FREE!