A Curious Case Of A Successful Dental Clinic Head
– Team DentalReach
The reigns of the dental dream team lie in the hands of an effective leader. A simple 4-point management cycle for successful leadership is described here.
There are two types of leaders:
- The leader is a derivative of the expression “lead your hands.”
- The leader is a derivative of the expression “to lead by the hand.”
The latter are more successful. But first things first!
Perhaps the biggest problem most principal dentists or dental team leaders face is the lack of time to rise above the situation in the clinic. During such periods, as they say, the forest is not visible for the trees! To periodically “get out from under the hood”, we recommend a good old management cycle:
Any plans should be aimed at achieving the strategic goals of the clinic. And for this, strategic goals should at least exist.
Case Example The team leader sets a goal – attract as many primary patients to the clinic or ensure an ‘x’ volume of patients returning after primary consult. If this task is set for subordinates, while not determining steps of how to achieve it, or why it helps to achieve it, or what time frame to achieve it in, then this goal is not a strategic goal, but an arbitrary one – which may or may not be achieved by the team members.
Strategic goals should not be born from the head of the head, but at a strategic session with the participation of all specialists. Only in this case, the goals, and subsequently the tasks, will be accepted and understood by the employees.
It is necessary, at least once a year, to gather employees and understand, whether your clinic is moving in the wrong direction, are the goals relevant, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the clinic, analyze the threats and opportunities. After all, if you do not know where you are going right now, you will definitely never get there in the future.
“If you want it to work out, do it yourself” is the most ineffective approach. The first thing a clinic head should do when he/she assumes the role is to develop the organizational and functional structure of the clinic.
Behind each position is hidden a certain functionality, that is, the responsibilities of employees, the current work that they perform every day. In addition, all tasks that are determined in the process of strategic planning are also distributed among those responsible, and deadlines are set.
When assigning tasks, remember: if there is more than one person in charge, there is no one in charge. Let one person alone shoulder one particular responsibility.
It helps a lot to look at the situation from above at least once a month.
The motivation system of the clinic is built, again, on the basis of strategic goals. The administrator’s income, for example, should influenced by the extent to which the clinic’s capacities are loaded (the strategic goal is 80% utilization), the contribution of each individual administrator to this load, and patient satisfaction with the level of service. It is important that the motivation system is balanced, otherwise, if you decide, for example, that only capacity utilization or the number of primary ones should affect the administrator’s income, administrators will sit on the phone and they will not care about the patients in the lobby. What you pay them for is what they do.
And now a little about where we started the article. For the employees, a successful leader should be, first of all, a mentor, teacher, and not a pointer or overseer, in other words, lead by the hand. But at the same time, you should not go into those questions in which you are not an expert.
A leader who pretends to be a know-it-all is a pitiful sight. For example, as the clinic head you can create the service standards yourself and train the specialists in this yourself. But if you do not know how to, say, sell treatment plans, then do not go to your specialists with this – what you can do instead is attract experts to train your specialists. In other words, if you can only tell how to do something, but cannot show, you should not shake the air in vain. This disturbs the sense of motivation of the clinic.
A note on how to criticise your dental dream team without demotivating:
Let’s face it – all days are not rosy, and sometimes a clinic head faces situations where criticism is necessary for smooth functioning of the clinic. Never criticize your specialist in public at a meeting or in front of the patient, even if the criticism is constructive. This is done only by leaders who have created an authoritarian regime of management and an atmosphere of harmony with themselves. It is a sign of unprofessionalism and weakness of a person. Working on the principle “there are two opinions: one is mine, the other is wrong” is extremely dangerous for business. Public criticism is a very powerful demotivator. In addition, you may be wrong in your conclusions and publicly sit in a puddle yourself.
In general, praise publicly, criticize one-on-one.
And, of course, one must bear in mind that in most cases the team of a dental clinic is a female team and highly intelligent. If you use banal commands in high tones, nothing will come of it. If you unintentionally raise your voice at someone, even one-on-one and even on business, the next day go to the clinic with sweets and apologize to the specialist. You also need to take into account their emotionality, the priority of the family over work and other features of the fair sex.
Strategic goals – yes, they again, or rather – how close you are in digital terms to achieving them – are indicators of your success. There is no need to micromanage, go into all the details of the work of your specialists. Assess the “health” of a business according to the following indicators:
- the number of primary patients
- the percentage of patients left for treatment
- the percentage of those who returned to prophylaxis after 6 months
- capacity utilization and
- scheduling, patient satisfaction with the level of service.
It is enough to control the tasks assigned to specialists once a week.
Summary of Part 5: A curious case of a successful dental clinic head
The 4-point management cycle for successful leadership by principal dentists is:
- Planning – with strategic goals once a year
- Organization – by assigning tasks once a month
- Motivation- without pretending to be a know-it-all and criticising without demotivating
- Control – by not micromanaging but assessing certain indicators of a healthy business once a week.