Dos and don'ts for leadership: Earn your team's trust

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As practice leader, you need to bring out the best in your staff. You will hopefully learn to do better with this over time, but one simple lesson that will stand you well throughout your career is to teach your team members that they can trust you. This is essential because you need them to respect your vision and goals, your clinical skills, and your business judgment -- and to believe you're good for your word.


Live up to your commitments. If you were strictly on your own, you might be able to get away with saying one thing and doing another, procrastinating, or otherwise falling short of expectations. However, as a team leader, you must establish credibility and predictability. Unless your staff knows what to expect of you, they'll stop short of putting themselves into the practice 100%. Earn their trust and they'll reward you with the kind of attitude and performance that will lead to greater success for your practice.


Don't open the door for communication and then slam it shut. You need honest feedback from all team members, because they see things you don't, have ideas you'd never come up with, and -- perhaps most important -- see you and your behavior in ways that you can't. If a staff member says something you don't want to hear (but should hear) and you react badly, you'll no longer be trusted.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group, the leading dental practice consulting firm in North America. For the complete list of dates and locations where you can attend his latest seminar, visit

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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