One of the challenges of dental practice is managing a team. Working with a high functioning group of people is both about inviting the right people to join your team, and about helping them grow and develop and being clear around expectations. Each piece of this puzzle presents unique challenges, most of which we were not trained to do in dental school. A question I ask myself very often, is “how am I helping my team grow?”. In the busy hustle and bustle of a day in practice as I notice items that I would like or need done differently how do I respond. In truth often I make a mental note to mention it later, and well everyone reading this knows what happens, it doesn’t get mentioned. It gets forgotten about until the next time the same scenario happens, and over time it becomes an irritant. From experience I can share that this is a very inefficient and ineffective way to manage and does nothing to help team members grow.
Growth from what I can see has several components:
- A willingness and interest in growth and development.
- A willing, able and available teacher.
- The tools required to learn new skills and complete them successfully.
- A growth plan that matches the person’s learning style.
- Feedback and evaluation.
- Recognition of accomplishment.
Over time the presence and focus on each of these elements ebbs and flows, but when I am intentional about growing my team and create the above circumstances the results are extraordinary. One of the things I recommend that has worked really well is create an environment where team members can ask for training and development, so they can proactively drive the process and it isn’t all up to you. It is also important to foster an environment of positive feedback, Kirk Behrendt, just posted a great video on giving feedback. Lastly, you may be very surprised what you learn if you simply ask your team how you can support their growth and development.