Dental practice management: Friend or foe?


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The complexity of interpersonal relationships can confound the most astute dental practice manager.

Building a cohesive team is a challenge in any industry. Left to their own devices — particularly in the presence of a communication vacuum — dental staff members will form alliances. It’s just human nature.

Cultivating a team spirit is a good thing, but make sure the relationships among staff members in your practice are clearly defined.

Nature abhors a vacuum. Left to flesh out their job responsibilities without clearly defined parameters, dental care professionals may create their own rules and form their own work culture.

This is true for any personal service professional, but in dentistry there are particular elements that make building a cohesive team a bit more challenging. It’s all about proximity. Bumping into another person releases stress hormones. The integrity of our personal space is what gives us a sense of comfort and relaxation. It’s a positive factor that balances out those little stresses incurred over the course of the workday.

The nature of dental care requires a team to work in very close proximity. If the hygienist is behind schedule, that rattles the process. If the X-ray technician had a tough time getting children off to the school bus, more stress enters the picture. People under stress tend to lose patience more readily. Upset feelings are contagious.

There is a solution: Investing in team-building exercises can defuse that tension. It’s an easy, preventative step that will contribute to a more relaxed, efficient dental practice where smiles abound!

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