Dos and don'ts for team leadership: Model the behavior you want from staff

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To make a strong and memorable impression on team members of the attitude and actions you want them to display -- to each other and to patients -- don't just tell them. Show them. By serving as the example in what you say and do, you'll give your staff powerful daily lessons in patient care and customer service. Action speaks louder than words.


Make a conscious effort to send the right messages. Most of us have trouble seeing ourselves as others see us. Watch and listen to yourself as objectively as you can. For example, if you want your practice to welcome patients with warmth and enthusiasm, monitor your own actions in this regard. Observe how you affect those around you, modifying your behavior until you start getting the right results. Your team will learn to do the same.


Don't allow negativity behind the scenes. Criticism of patients or team members, even if kept out of patients' earshot, will undermine your efforts to project a positive image -- especially if you're the culprit. If you say one thing but do another, you'll lose credibility as the team leader.

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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