Dental Practice Management: Are You Providing Effective Feedback to Your Team?

One of the key factors that separates top-performing, highly profitable dental practices from others that are struggling to get by is team performance. Dentists sometimes react with surprise when I say this—because many dentists view their staff as something of an afterthought. The dentist is the “superstar” of course, and other factors like marketing strategy have a key role to play—or so the thinking goes.

Now, the caliber of the dentist is obviously very important. And so is an effective marketing plan. But the key to creating a highly profitable practice is the team that keeps it operating. We’ve talked at great length about the importance of systems in order to run a practice smoothly. Well, it is the employees that are responsible for executing these systems.

What this means is that, as a dentist or a practice manager, one of the most important roles you must play is developing and managing your team—helping them become better at their job. And, one of the keys to developing an excellent team is providing feedback. Without feedback, both positive and negative, your employees are “flying blind”. So today we are going to look at three principles to keep in mind when it comes to providing feedback to your team.

1) Provide feedback regularly. Feedback shouldn’t be rare. If you look for it, you’ll find opportunities to offer feedback every day. A simple “great job with that” or “next time, try doing it this way…” is often all that it takes. By regularly offering feedback, you keep your team focused—and help them become better at their job.

2) Look for opportunities to reinforce, not just criticize. Feedback shouldn’t always be negative. In fact, it shouldn’t usually be negative. Too much negative feedback is demoralizing. So make it a point to reinforce good work whenever you can.

3) Don’t wait to address an issue—the longer you wait, the worse it gets. If there’s an issue, such as an employee regularly showing up late, don’t wait to address it. Failing to address it can often seem like a “silent endorsement”—and the employee may think “he saw me do it, and he didn’t say anything, so it must be okay.” Don’t let this happen.

Providing feedback regularly, both positive and negative, is the key to developing an effective team. And an effective team is the key to a highly profitable dental practice!

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