It's So Hard To Find Good Dental Staff – a misguided myth.

Have you ever thought “it’s so hard to find good dental staff”?

Do you find yourself continually disappointed in your staff or overall practice revenue?

Are you often stressed out or storming about over something work related?

Stop sabotaging yourself and your success.

This may shock you, but you are probably the common denominator in all your staff problems – the root of the problem. You mean well, but you unintentionally set yourself and your employees up to fail. Some ways you may be sabotaging your success include:

  • expecting employees to be mind readers and know what you want them to do, exactly how and when
  • not clearly communicating expectations and goals
  • running on stress mode for an extended period of time
  • losing your temper for any reason
  • avoiding correcting an employee who is not meeting communicated expectations or goals
  • not praising an employee who is
  • doing the same thing over and over again while desperately hoping tomorrow will be different


Don’t be a boss. Be a leader.

To build a high performing team, you need to assume the position of leader. A leader has many habits and practices that allow others to try, fail, try again, learn, grow, positively contribute to and consistently achieve organizational goals- including big revenue goals. A boss has many issues, problems, anger and frustration.

The first step in transitioning from a boss to a leader is to clear your own head and take a long look at your own habits and reactions.   Bosses often accidentally treat themselves and their employees like robots by not remembering they need down time, lunch breaks, training, support, encouragement, and room to make mistakes in order to grow. People are not robots. Expecting each person to be high performing at all times, and to instinctively know what you expect of them without it being clearly communicated and trained leads to all employees feeling stressed and anxious, which results in:

  • increased errors
  • increased absenteeism
  • increased friction amongst team mates
  • blame game & defensive behaviour
  • poor results (low production, high downtime, high staff turnover rate, unhappy associates)
  • more dissatisfaction, anger and stress for you as the owner (which exacerbates all problems)
  • more fear, stress and anxiety for your employees (which exacerbates all problems)

You’re not your best when you are stressed.

If you have ever raised your voice at an employee, lost your temper in any way, or simply allowed your dissatisfaction to follow you home or linger for days, unaddressed, you will first need to accept that you are a part of the problem.  You will have to work on your expectations, reactions and habits before you can expect to see any real change across your team.  Your own stress makes you behave less than your best. And that hurts you and your business.  For this reason, we coach employers and employees simultaneously.

To be a happier, more successful practice owner you need to be a positive leader for your team.  You are the entrepreneur. You are the business owner. You chose this path of practice ownership for yourself. You can’t expect employees to be entrepreneurs. And that is exactly what you are asking of them when you expect them to “figure it out” or leave them to their own devices. Employees are not entrepreneurs. They do better with some guidance, structure, clear expectations, goals and objectives, and regular feedback and praise. To find the success you are looking for, you need to develop an entire team of consistently high performing employees who know it’s ok to make a mistake and trust it will be treated as a teaching moment instead of a punishment or a big disappointment to you.

Communicating For Dental Team Success

One key part of developing a consistently high performing team is crystal clear communication. For this reason, we recommend structured team communications including:

  • a clear policy manual
  • a strong HR system
  • training checklists
  • weekly assignments & checklists
  • monthly team meetings and goal setting sessions
  • monthly departmental meetings
  • bi annual individual reviews and goal planning sessions for every employee
  • a praise & team building board in the lunch room

Now you might say “I do all of that and still have dismal results – it’s impossible to find good staff”.  I would say check yourself.  Are you operating in stress mode and behaving badly? Or conversely, are you avoiding any difficult conversations at all costs?  Are you clearly and regularly communicating expectations to all team members?  What is your team doing during team meetings?  How have you structured your employee reviews?  The above is just a list and anyone can tick off the boxes. Execution will define your outcomes. Ask yourself if your methods have you acting like a bad boss or serving as a good leader? Because it’s a myth that it is hard to find good dental staff.  You just need to learn to attract, support and retain them to get the best of out them.

Dental Team Coaching

You can push the restart button on your practice (and your staff) by improving your communications.   You can start piecing together these elements yourself. Nothing is top secret and everything can be found online and through reading management books or attending dental training workshops and slowly building out your new methods. But to if you want to implement positive changes swiftly, hire help. It’s an investment, but certainly less costly than operating with a half empty schedule and a lot of stress for the next year, or two, or three…  Going from boss to leader will pay off in spades.  Make a change today. Either on your own or with help from The Practice Geek.  Contact us now.