Just like you, I have felt all the stresses that accompany dentistry. Not only the stress that goes along with the dentistry part, but all the issues surrounding staff and employee issues, too. Not many people out there in the rest of the “real” world understand the mental and physical pain that goes along with the title of Doctor, and the plumber down the street sure isn’t going to shed a tear on our behalf when we talk about it.
However, the stress is real and it gives us a handicap when we try to manage our people. The staff is all too aware of our trials and they certainly know how to take advantage of them, whether consciously or subconsciously.
Tell me this, have you ever heard this phrase when you were trying to figure out a solution to a problem in the office? “Doc, don’t worry about that. Why don’t you let us handle it?”
Let me translate if you will. What the staff person is really saying is, “Doc, I know you’re stressed out. I’m sorry you discovered this very real problem in the office, but I promise that if you just give it a few days, you’ll forget about the whole thing and we can go back to doing things the way we always have. That’s the way we are most comfortable.”
This subtlety exists in every practice I have ever dealt with. The staff may even mean well, but no one likes change. The staff figures that given enough time, the doctor will forget about improving things and return to the status quo. Guess what? That attitude is your fault. It is YOUR dental office, is it not? You’re the one who let things get this way because you were an absentee dental landlord.
I already said that I understood why you are often mentally absent from the management role required of the doctor. You have responsibility after responsibility piling up on your back daily. Add to all that the daily complaints that come from the patients and staff, and you have the formula for major stress.
I hate conflict myself and I know that I’m not alone on this. I have certainly had that feeling where I knew I should correct someone, but I knew they would blow up over the issue. So, I just let it ride. It is quite simply easier sometimes to just go into the office, put your head down, and go home at the end of the day, leaving the staff to manage themselves. Luckily, we have enjoyed such prosperous times in dentistry that we have been able to get away with some astoundingly terrible management techniques.
I’m a clinical guy so I’ll talk about clinical stuff. How many of you just blindly take your assistant’s word for any and all things that go on in that department?
Let’s examine a common scenario that I encounter all the time in my coaching. The doctor spends money on some clever marketing. A prospective new patient actually takes the time to pick up a telephone and call your office (a feat becoming more difficult all the time). The patient wants to come in TODAY. The receptionist does her best to steer them into a more appropriate (in her opinion) time slot on another day. The patient feels put off, makes the appointment, but doesn’t show up.
The doctor somehow gets up the courage to confront the receptionist about all the broken appointments. The doctor finds out that she hasn’t been offering same day service to new patients when they call. He explains that they MUST be able to offer this and that should help with the broken appointment problem. The doctor senses resistance from the receptionist even though she isn’t openly disagreeing with him. For some reason today, the doctor has mustered up the strength to go the extra mile and try to figure out why the receptionist doesn’t want to schedule new patients into the day’s already full schedule. The receptionist finally breaks and concedes that she has gotten a lot of flak from the clinical staff when she has tried to squeeze in these types of appointments. The doctor is flabbergasted.
Don’t feel left out. Every doctor feels the same pain at one time or another. All staffs hold secrets behind closed doors.
Once you discover the secrets that your staff members are hiding, you can break down the barriers that have sapped productivity and caused squabbling in your practice for so long. One of the greatest findings of Dr. Griffin during his consultation with dental practices has been that once everyone is aware of the few little things that have been nagging at them, they can resolve longstanding issues and enjoy fun, profitable growth to superstar levels. You can get your free CD explaining the 5 most common Staff Secrets at http://www.dentalstaffsecrets.com.