Don't ever say these things to your team members

2015 02 15 23 17 12 996 Madow Brothers 200

As doctors and business owners, we have a lot on our hands. Frustrations are plentiful, and even the mellowest of us find a short fuse burning every once in a while.

Richard H. Madow, DDS, and David M. Madow, DDS.Richard H. Madow, DDS, and David M. Madow, DDS.

But that doesn't mean we have permission to lash out at our team members. Constructive criticisms and honest performance evaluations given in private are one thing; a snarky quip fired off in a weak moment is always a no-no and can have lasting implications.

There are several things that should never be uttered, especially in the heat of the moment. However, don't panic if you have found yourself saying some (or all!) of these in the past. We all have! The key is to constantly learn to be a better leader.

Avoid saying the following phrases to any of your staff:

I'm the boss, here. You'd better do what you're told.

If you expect your staff to behave like adults (which we hope you do), then don't treat them like children. Explanations are always better than edicts.

You're lucky to work here.

If you have to remind your employees how fortunate they are to work for you, then you've probably overestimated how great your practice really is. If you create an environment of mutual respect, offering praise when it's due, and providing a healthy work atmosphere, your employees will tell you how lucky they are!

I don't care if you have a problem.

Even if you don't say these exact words, you're making this attitude very clear when you refuse to take the time to discuss the concerns of your team. If you don't care, they're not going to care -- and that's very bad for your business.

This is your fault.

Don't say this, even when it's obvious who screwed up and how. There are lot of better ways to handle a situation like this, including talking with the team member in private about a mistake and using gentle reminders, such as "In the future, let's try it like this ..." or "Well, things happen, and I know this won't be a problem next time."

I'm the doctor.

They know who you are. Your name is on the door they open every day, and it's also on the paycheck they receive. If you're finding the need to remind your staff of your status, you're probably demanding their respect, rather than commanding it. That never works. Earn their respect by doing quality work and expecting -- and rewarding -- quality work from them.

The next time you feel any of these phrases moving from your brain to your mouth, take a deep breath, wait a few seconds, bite your tongue if necessary, and move on.

In 1989, Richard H. Madow, DDS, and David M. Madow, DDS, founded The Madow Brothers with the goal of helping their fellow dentists achieve success and happiness in their practices. For more information about their e-letters, audio series, New Patient Mail marketing program, Dental Powerhouse group, their live presentations (including "How To Love Dentistry, Have Fun, and Prosper," "Rock Your Practice To The Top," and their annual event in Las Vegas "TBSE," and more, check them out at

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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