Ask For Help

by Dr. Ron Arndt

You’ve heard me say “No one is as smart as all of us.” It’s my favorite saying and one that I believe in. As dentists, some of us are trying to be the biggest and the baddest on the block. We think we can do it all by ourselves. (I almost was killed at age 41 over this need – read more here:

I encourage you to realize that it’s not “failing” when you ask for help. It is actually the sign of a professional who realizes his/her strengths, when to delegate and has the confidence to do so.

In Kindergarten, the teacher is always asking for a special helper. It’s a quite the honor. While I won’t ask you to have your chairside assistant sport a paper crown that says “Teacher’s Helper”, I offer these three tips for delegating:

1.      First, decide who to appoint as the Helper: This should be someone who will take the added responsibility seriously, and add freshness to this important position.

2.      Communicate your vision to the entire team: I learned in business school that most individual team members will weigh the benefits of the proposed change against the potential risk. They will resist the changes that they think will threaten them in some way, or be a risk to them. So, give your team members the control about the situation, particularly if they will have to “answer” to someone else now.

3. Train yourself to do less: Yes, I did just say that! Resist the temptation to run up to your new “helper” and assist them with every single task. They are the best; that is why you chose them for this position. Trust your own judgment. They will make natural mistakes, but I can almost guarantee that they will also make big comebacks

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