If you want to motivate your team and create an environment in your practice where you retain great employees, make sure you pay attention. Every time you see dental patients, your team does a number of positive things to make the procedure go smoothly and to create a comfortable patient experience. How many of those positive things do you notice?
The Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset once said, “Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.” What do you pay attention to? For example, do you look past how well your assistant puts phobic patients at ease and focus on the extra minute it takes her to get the patient’s blood pressure? If so, what does that say about your leadership style? One of the best ways to demotivate team members is to look past all of the things they do well and focus your attention solely on the minutia.
By contrast, one of the best ways to get buy-in from your team and to encourage higher levels of performance is to pay attention to the many things they do well. Not only pay attention, but offer specific praise on the actions you notice. Consider how you have felt in the past when patients, colleagues, or others offered you feedback on how gentle you gave an injection or how appreciative they were that you took extra time to explain their treatment options.
What does that positive feedback motivate you to do? It motivates you to do more of the same, possibly even looking for additional ways to make the patient experience even better. The same thing happens when you motivate your team by paying attention to the many things they do well.
One of the best ways to develop a great team is to reinforce what they do well. Pay attention to what they do well, and then motivate and coach them with regular positive feedback.