Picture this: you hired staff to help you with various jobs within your practice. You’re relieved to finally just focus on dentistry! That is, until they start making mistakes and you have to jump in again to put out the fire. Now, it just feels like you’re back at square one, but this time with more work and stress because you have a team of people to watch over.

Maybe that sounds too much like reality for you right now, and if it does, I’m here to help!

Let’s help you create a team of staff who are competent, truly own their positions, and who you can trust. The best part? You don’t need to hire a whole new set of staff! These tips can help you drastically improve your current team. So, let’s get into it!

What’s their purpose?

While this may seem simple, most staff don’t truly know the purpose of their job. For example, a receptionist’s job is much more than just answering phone calls. That alone doesn’t exactly motivate staff to knock it out of the park.

Instead, you could say that the receptionist’s purpose is to swiftly answer phone calls and successfully schedule current and new patients so they can maintain or restore their oral health. Their job also has the purpose of being the first point of contact (both on the phone and when the patient arrives at the practice) and is responsible for setting a good first impression. A good first impression calms the patient and helps them feel confident with the practice.

Obviously, there are more responsibilities and tasks that a receptionist has, but this gives a staff member a good idea of why their job exists in the first place and how it impacts the office and patients. They’re much more than a person behind a desk and knowing the full purpose behind their job is the first step to them taking full responsibility for their job.

What’s the result of their job?

Along with their purpose is the result of their position.

The way you’re going to get your staff to really own their position is to tell them what their result is or what they create from their job, and how that’s important to the practice. Because otherwise, you’re just a scheduler making phone calls.

When your staff know both the purpose and result of their job, they can go from dreading the job to being glad to being do it because they know it helps further the overall goal of the practice.

For example, the Scheduling Coordinator should know that they are responsible for daily production and they should have targets for daily, weekly, and monthly production. They aren’t just scheduling appointments when patients come up to the front desk, they are working toward a specific result for the practice.

Related: Guidelines for Organizing Your Front Office Efficiently

How are you training your staff?

A person can know the purpose and the result of their job down pat, but if they haven’t been properly trained on how to do their job so they can attain the result – they will fail.

Just sitting next to an experienced team member for a few days is not enough. You need manuals that can be referred to and your staff need to practice doing what they’ve learned. This prevents mistakes when they’re actually on the job and they learn practical knowledge on what to do in tough situations. I recommend either the doctor, office manager, or a seasoned staff member who has experience with that particular job help other team members practice.

Practice can be any of the following:

  • Answering phone calls with a variety of scenarios ranging from easy to difficult.
  • Welcoming patients into the practice.
  • Filling out insurance forms properly.
  • How to answer specific questions from patients.
  • How and when to ask for reviews from patients.
  • Scheduling patients for the doctor and hygiene.
  • Etc.

And training isn’t just for new hires. If you want your practice to continue to grow and improve, then the team members should be continuing to grow and add new skills, as well—especially if they want to move up so they can take on more responsibility and increase their salary.

By the way, we make team training easier for you with our online training platform, DDS Success. There are online training videos and documents that cover every position in the practice, so all they have to do is watch and learn. Long-time staff can improve their abilities and new hires can get up and running quickly. Schedule a free demo here.

Are you giving them good direction?

The last point I want to go over is the importance of giving good direction and having policies in place.

It’s important that you have written policies set in place for your practice on everything. These policies should be printed out and handed to each employee so they can know and understand them. This way, if they ever need to look up how to do something specific, they can reference the appropriate policy.

It may seem unnecessary to put it in writing if you’ve already told it to everyone verbally, but you’d be amazed at how things can be argued about, forgotten about, or just ignored when it’s not in writing.

Along with that, it’s equally important to give good direction and leadership. I’ve met doctors that complained endlessly about how bad their staff are, nobody takes initiative, they mess things up all the time, nobody wants to work anymore, etc, etc, etc. They needed to take a look in the mirror. The first change that needs to occur is in themselves as a leader or else nothing else will ever improve.

Your attitude when giving direction will also determine their attitude when they’re performing their jobs.

If you need help learning how to be a better leader, delegate well, and organize your practice—that’s what we’re here for! Request a free consultation here to see how we can help.

Related: Two Rules for Delegating Successfully


Running a practice is a team effort. You need to be able to trust that your staff can successfully carry out the duties and purposes of their jobs. If you can’t trust them yet, these tips should help you get on the road to being able to do so. When your staff know the purpose and result of their jobs, they have great training and are competent, and you and the office manager give good direction and leadership, that’s when you’ll find that you’re no longer micro-managing.

If you need any help with this, you can request a free practice analysis here. We’d be happy to help!


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