Take a Timeout

by Dr. Ron Arndt

There are days when your staff is unreasonable and downright grumpy. It happens. When I was practicing dentistry, there were certainly days when my staff would complain, have low morale and simply not do their job to their potential. There are days when the Dental CEO is grumpy, too: things go wrong, practice revenue is down, etc. Some days, nothing goes right and it just doesn’t feel fair.

One of my personal favorite kindergarten lessons is to take a nap every afternoon. Unfortunately, patients are waiting on us and it’s not always feasible – however, do remember to stop and take a breather when you can. Blow off steam before you blow your career.

Here are my tips to help dentists handle those bad days that come with being a Dental CEO:

1. Communicate and reach out to your employees that aren’t performing. Perhaps there is something going on in their personal life. While they may not want to discuss their private life openly, let them know that you notice something is “up.” If they know that you are there for support, they may open up. You can take it from there as to how to rectify the situation. If, however, you find that this is ongoing and negatively affecting your dental practice – take a close look at the situation. After I killed my practice, I promptly gathered my staff together one weekend day and I fired them. All of them. Learn why here.

2.      When you’re in kindergarten, it seems fun to make fun of others and criticize them. You quickly learn that it doesn’t feel good when the shoe is on the other foot. Think about that feeling before you comment on another dentist’s work or practice.

3. The bigger you are, the more mistakes you can make. That’s okay. Remember to just learn from each mistake and move on. If you’re ready to blow a major gasket, quickly and calmly remove yourself from the situation. Take a timeout in your office. It only has to last 5 minutes. Despite the everyday tensions we experience in our dental offices – with staff, patients, vendors – remember to sit in the corner once in a while and take a breath.

You learned back then that life wasn’t fair. It isn’t. Neither is business. Maintaining composure is critical to the success of your dental practice.

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