Proactively Coach the Small Stuff

One of the most challenging situations for a dentist is how to respond when the team starts overlooking the small stuff.  When the health history is not reviewed chair-side or charges for the day are not posted correctly or the next step phase of treatment is not reviewed properly up front.  The natural tendency is to do it yourself, but unfortunately this just opens the door for more mistakes.


Let’s use the overlooked health history review as an example.  It makes sense, especially since you are chair-side, to just review the health history with the patient.  If the oversight occurs again, you ideally want to talk with your clinical team in your office later that day to discuss the mistakes.

However, too many times dentists slowly start taking on the clinical tasks themselves without sorting through the root causes of the oversights.  When the team sees this, they sense the dentist has lost confidence in them, which leads to more mistakes.  In addition, the team starts assuming the dentist is now taking care of additional tasks while the dentist feels stress over having to do even more.  The end result is a vicious cycle that leads to greater misunderstanding and disharmony.


Therefore, when the team is missing the small stuff, talk about it immediately.  Unravel the root causes before mistakes spread to other areas.  And even though it may seem easier to just do a few extra tasks yourself, realize this is merely an illusion that will create greater headaches in the end.

Effective leadership is much like effective dentistry: preventative steps make everything easier.  When the small stuff is missed, take a proactive approach and work closely with your team.

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