Managing Team Conflicts In The Dental Office
Yesterday we talked about a common error made by young and independently owned dental practices when filling the the role of office manager (The Lesson Of Jen, Your Dental “Office Manager”). Now let’s introduce the DiSC personality profiles. What if Jen The Dental Office Manager is a D style personality and Mary, the front desk admin with a keen eye for the hygiene schedule is an S style personality, and Jen keeps Mary down?
What happens when dominant Jen keeps shutting stabilizing Mary down, week after week, month after month?
What is the cost to Mary, to your practice, and to the rest of your team?
Does Jen create an environment where everyone is heard and great ideas are adopted and implemented to improve the practice overall? Or is it a command & control situation where one person has a voice and all else must fall in line? There is a distinct difference between bossiness and leadership. One shuts people down and limits growth. The other builds people up and creates growth.
If your office manager is controlling, closed off or a strong “dominant” figure, you may be missing out on a wealth of valuable insight and ideas from your other team members. D’s can often be put in charge because they are outspoken, however all personality types have different viewpoints and valuable insight to offer. D’s might be closed to outside input but C’s have very strong analytical skills that you can benefit from. S’s have great language skills to promote harmony and patient happiness. I’s are great at spinning and selling and can give you a fresh perspective or great analogies to use when talking treatment with patients. You’re missing out on all of this if you have a D with major blind spots running the show in your office.
Other clues that you have team dysfunction include a higher than average employee turnover rate, high tension amongst team members, below average production or downtime rates, and you yourself may be stressed by the drama and the time tax you pay dealing with interpersonal conflicts across your team.
What can you do about it?
As a starting point, you can look into reading material on DiSC personality assessments, which are a simplified version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test used in human resources departments across the world. With the simpler DiSC, you can become more aware of personality differences, information processing preferences and how different personalities perceive themselves and each other. This may help you to better manage conflict on your team. Exposing your team to this material also helps them to raise their own self awareness. Of course these profiles can’t capture every unique individual, but they can be a powerful tool in people management.
Another option is to work with a dental team coach such as myself, and together, we can introduce DiSC as well as many other team communication, collaboration and management methods to get your team working better together.
One thing is certain – without intervention, conflicts will continue and may worsen, so take action and do something to improve your team dynamics.
Dental Team Coaching In Durham Region
For hands on help in reducing team conflict and building team trust, cooperation and positive outcomes, hire The Practice Geek. Services include team coaching and practice management support services in Durham Region, Clarington, Northumberland and The Kawarthas. Choose a one day review & report, a 4 week intervention or a 12 month total team and practice building program to take your team from good to great.