Do's and don'ts for handling staff conflict

2016 11 18 14 42 01 206 Practice Success2 400

Staff conflict is one of the most challenging practice management concerns for dentists. It's also inevitable that disagreements among team members will arise at some point. The key to resolving disagreements is to handle the quarrel promptly and effectively.


Set an example for your team. As the CEO of the practice, the dentist is ultimately responsible for creating a pleasant working environment. To resolve disputes, the doctor should identify the issue, call a meeting, and ask each staff member involved to propose a solution. All those concerned should come to an agreement and then hold a follow-up meeting to ensure the tension has been properly diffused.


Don't escalate conflict. When you find yourself disagreeing with another team member, take a breath, step back, and think through how you want to manage it. All too often, an immediate response to a dispute only makes things worse. Dealing with conflict at the height of emotion can create more tension. It's better to look at the situation in a calmer state of mind.

Dr. Roger P. Levin is CEO of Levin Group, a leading practice management and marketing consulting firm. To contact him or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit or email [email protected].

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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