Do you have employees or a team working with you?

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When I start working with dentists, I ask if they have a team or employees working with them. Most of the time dentists respond with "I have a team." I think dentists really want to believe that, but soon realize after I ask a few questions that they have employees working with them instead.

Have you ever had a "team member" reply it wasn't his or her responsibility? Or better yet, "It wasn't my fault."

Lynne Leggett.Lynne Leggett.

Those are employees. Employees are a group of people who work for an organization. They may have a goal to accomplish, but they do not understand how their role and responsibilities are related to the rest of the company. Employees will complete tasks that are assigned to them, but they will not care how that relates to anything else in the organization. They just want to check off their to-do list.

Contrast that with what I believe a dental team should be. A dental practice team is a group of people working together cohesively toward the clearly defined and stated goals of the doctor. There is a very high level of patient satisfaction while knowing that all team members are accountable to each other using their individual strengths to enhance the performance of the team. Team members will sacrifice for each other and will take responsibility for their individual actions while they are accountable to one another and the doctor.

As you can see, a team is totally different than employees working for you.

While we are defining some things, I also want to mention a team is not a staff either. Staff (staph) is an infection, not people. When we have the correct culture in our office, the words we use will reflect that.

I think it is also about respect. We need to respect one another, and words have meaning. When you put time and effort into developing the culture you want in your practice, you should be selfish about who gets the opportunity to share and grow with you and your team.

After the right people are on your team, investing money, time, and resources to fully develop them will pay off for you and your practice. By taking care of your team members and putting them first, they will take care of you and the patients you serve.

I have more thoughts on the importance of team in my video comments below.

Lynne Leggett is the founder and CEO of Victory Dental Management. She has more than 25 years of business experience in several industries, including dentistry, medical, pharmacy, sales, transportation, logistics, and project management. Learn more about her and her services on the Victory Dental Management website.

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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