10 Ways Office Managers can Encourage Teamwork within the Dental Practice
By: Rebecca Rucker, Regional Manager
Nothing is better than having a strong synergy within the Dental Office. A great team can create a tangible atmosphere and culture that keeps patients coming back and referring their friends and family, while fostering a great sense of pride and inclusion for each member of the team. Here are 10 ideas an Office Manager can start implementing today to encourage teamwork within their dental office:
- Set Goals
Whether you set a monthly production goal or a goal of acquiring patient online reviews, the staff needs someone to lead the way with a target each month. Set an attainable target, but something that requires just a little extra effort to motivate the team.
- Provide Daily Updates
Announce progress towards monthly goals at morning huddles and keep a scoreboard in the break room. Get excited about progress made and the team will follow your lead.
- Recognize Star Players, and Remember Everyone is a Star
Everyone has their own strengths and can bring something unique to the team. It is your job as the leader of the practice to recognize these strengths and encourage their presence. One year, I bought each team member a mini trophy at the party supply store and conducted an awards ceremony during our monthly staff meeting. The team absolutely loved celebrating one another’s strengths. It was the most positive team meeting I ever held and to my surprise, people kept those little trophies in their workstations for years after that.
- Take Time to Show you Care
Find a way to connect with everyone on your team. A quick and genuine interaction does not have to take up too much of your day. Get to know everyone as the unique individuals they are. The team will start to respect you more and will be more willing to follow your lead. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
- Plan Quarterly Team Outings
Getting outside of the office as a team can be a refreshing and rejuvenating change of pace. Find something fun to bring out everyone’s inner child like going ice skating or to play laser tag. Find a way to have fun and laugh together as a team.
- Share Duties
Encourage mutual respect by assigning duties outside of individual workstations. Let available front office staff make sure the restrooms look inviting and teach them to seat a patient and place the bib. Put clinical assistants in charge of dusting the front office reception area or stocking the coffee station. Create a chore chart and switch individual chores weekly so that everyone contributes in completing tasks for the office as a whole. Make sure to assign yourself a weekly chore as well – because one of the best ways to lead is to serve.
- Bring Food
One of the quickest ways to someone’s heart is through their stomach. See how quickly you can get everyone’s attention by bringing breakfast burritos or donuts to a morning huddle when you have something really great to share or celebrate. Organize a potluck on the days that you hold your monthly meetings, select a theme and post a sign-up sheet. “Breaking bread” together can make a team feel more like a family.
- Learn More about Each Other with Group Personality Tests
Not only does this encourage self-awareness but it also helps with awareness of others on the team and can help grow emotional intelligence within the group. When people have a better understanding of themselves and each other’s similarities and differences, they are better equipped to approach social interactions with one another, resolve conflicts and work harmoniously as a team.
- Have Office Theme Days
Set up office theme days on Fridays, for special events or holidays. Maybe have everyone wear their favorite team shirt to encourage friendly rivalries or just simply a day that everyone wears your office colors or matching scrubs. If you already do this each day, then reward the staff with a day they can express their individuality. Spice it up a little and get people out of their daily ruts and routines.
- Celebrate Everyone’s Birthday
Recognize everyone’s special day with a personalized card, bring a cake, or have lunch together at their favorite restaurant.
Encourage and embrace teamwork by creating synergy within your team and you will see the difference in the morale of the practice and the patients will notice too.
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