Dental Office Team Building
(Ideas for Creating Synergy)

Growing a successful practice hinges on a collaborative and positive work environment. Acquiring and retaining top talent should be a top priority for your dental practice. It is the foundation for which business systems and culture can thrive.

Nurturing an atmosphere of trust and accountability for your team members will boost morale and improve practice growth. We’ve outline five areas for dental office team building you can implement immediately.

1. Create unified vision and goals

Business leaders (yes, that includes dentists) are responsible for getting everyone on the same page. Having your team all invested in a common goal is a powerful way to bring people together. At the end of the day, there will always be different opinions, backgrounds, beliefs or personalities. But understanding that we’re all in this together can be the catalyst for resolving conflict.

Write a vision statement

This is a written declaration to clarify your practice’s meaning and purpose. It should describe the desired long-term results of your collaborative efforts.

Example: We provide incredible patient experiences to create life-long connections to elevate the health and happiness of the community.

Now this example might not be the right fit for your office. Perhaps you want to focus on generating revenue to provide a higher quality of life for your employees. Regardless of the vision, you always should get feedback and insights from the team. You will need their buy-in and support.

Set realistic goals

Now that you have your written vision statement, how are you going to bring it to fruition? Goals will allow you to map your progress and hold you accountable to your long-term vision. The more specific and measurable your goals are, the more likely you’ll be to seeing actual results.

Let’s use the previous example vision statement to outline some realistic goals for a practice:

  • Goal: Greet every patient with a smile, even if it’s just a phone call.
  • Result: Positive first impression for new patients. Continued positive experience for existing patients.
  • Goal: Send every patient a Google review link the day after their appointment.
  • Result: Valuable feedback to establish a strong and positive reputation in the community.

Every team member should know what’s expected of them and how their role fits into the larger picture of the practice. Make sure to clearly communicate your goals and expectations, and hold team members accountable for meeting them.

2. Understand team dynamics

Sometimes all it takes for team bonding, is understanding how a person thinks and feels. With so many different communication styles and personalities, it can be a challenge to navigate team dynamics.

Personality tests

A great resource for this is the DiSC Personality Assessment. This model provides a common understanding your team can leverage to connect with themselves and others. This knowledge can reduce conflict and improve working relationships.

DiSC is an acronym that represents the categories for the different personality profiles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness.

  • Dominance: Tend to be confident and place an emphasis on accomplishing bottom-line results.
  • Influence: Tend to be more open and place an emphasis on relationships and influencing or persuading others.
  • Steadiness: Tend to be dependable and place the emphasis on cooperation and sincerity.
  • Conscientiousness: Tend to place the emphasis on quality, accuracy, expertise, and competency.

Practice personality

In addition to the individual personalities of the practice, it may be important to identify the personality of the practice itself. Now you may be wondering… dental practices can have personalities?

Dr. Scott Craven, DDS, MS, PhD, has identified nine core practice personality types. In his book, The Ideal Dental Practice, he outlines the common symptoms of practice dysfunction and how to overcome them.

Financial or emotional frustrations, inconsistent productivity, and team drama are all examples of these symptoms. But just like any health struggle, it’s important to treat the root cause, instead of constantly masking the symptoms.

3. Foster a communicative environment

Encourage team members to speak up and share their thoughts and ideas. This can help to create opportunities for a more collaborative work environment and allow for better problem-solving. Effective dental office team building depends on trust. And trust hinges on communication.

What does it mean to communicate as a team? Here are a few ideas to implement in your practice.

  1. Be open to critical feedback, especially as the leader of a practice.
  2. Be willing to try new things, even if you’re skeptical.
  3. Understand the needs and challenges of each individual team member.
  4. Hold regular team meetings during work hours, perhaps as a Monday morning huddle.

Team activities

Team building activities can help to strengthen relationships and improve communication within the team. Consider hosting office outings, team-building exercises, or even just weekly team lunches to encourage bonding.

Here are a few examples of activities you can participate with your staff:

  • Visit an amusement park together with your families.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt or do an escape room.
  • Pick a date to enjoy happy hour together.
  • Theme or costume days.
  • Volunteer opportunities in the community.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure to check with your team to see how everyone feels about your planned activities.

4. Offer conflict resolution training

Trust is a crucial component of any team, and it’s important to create an environment of trust within your dental office. This can be achieved through honesty, transparency, and open communication.

Many people have the misconception that conflict is a bad thing. But conflict is a very normal, natural part of life. It’s how we approach and resolve conflict that determines the outcome for an office.

When conflict is met with resentment and hostility, the culture can quickly deteriorate. But when teams understand how to stay calm and have meaningful conversations, the bonds and relationships can grow even deeper.

5. Stay accountable and constructive

Remember that dental office team building is not a “one-and-done” solution. It takes hard work and effort to maintain the positive team dynamics we’ve discussed in this article.

It’s important to show appreciation for your team members’ hard work and dedication. Consider implementing a rewards program, or simply take the time to personally thank team members for their contributions.

Also, continuing education keeps you up-to-date on the latest dental techniques, but also for personal and professional growth. Encourage your team to take advantage of continuing education opportunities, and consider offering in-house training or educational workshops.

By following these tips and avoiding common pitfalls, you can build a strong and cohesive team in your dental office. A strong team leads to increased productivity, better patient satisfaction, and a more enjoyable work environment for everyone. So take the time to invest in your team, and you’ll see the benefits in both your personal and professional life.

Are you ready to take your practice to the next level?

Reach out today to see how you can start maximizing your dental practice potential


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