Creating a positive culture for your dental practice or DSO begins with opening the doors to communication.
The culture of your organization is a living, dynamic phenomenon. Leadership directs the culture, but the strength of the culture is a result of the entire team’s happiness. Feeling safe is very important says dental practice culture expert Judy Kay Mausolf. “Creating a positive culture is about opening the doors and creating open communication with the team. If the team isn't comfortable communicating with leadership, assumptions happen, and assumptions create many problems.”
Team members feel safe when leadership:
Is approachable--whether it be doctors, managers, or team leads.
Comes from a place of care and concern, not judgment or criticism.
Is open to hearing concerns and feedback.
Listens with respect.
“I'm of the belief that we treat our team as well or better than we treat our patients,” says Mausolf. “If the team doesn't feel safe in sharing their thoughts or ideas, then you're limited to one view. You're not really utilizing all your resources.”
One way for leadership to open communication and start the culture conversation is to let the team know they, themselves, are not perfect. “Everybody's worried about how they look to everybody else,” says Mausolf. “So, it's really important that the doctors or the leadership team are vulnerable, are real to their team.”
In a safe environment, actions speak louder than words.
“Oftentimes you hear, ‘It's okay. You can make mistakes. We're here to support you.’ And then, somebody makes a mistake, and it's like, ‘Who did that?’ And then, everybody goes crazy.” Instead, there are some magic words you can say.
“You know, I'm not quite sure what happened today. Let's talk about it. Help me understand what happened.”
Those kinds of words start the conversation in an environment of safety. But body language and tone convey 93% of your energy says Mausolf. The magic words only are magic if you are calm and genuinely care. Even in a great culture, a team member may not feel entirely safe, but feeling empowered makes a difference.
Empowerment is a big part of Judy Kay Mausolf's Culture Camps. So is teaching leaders to keep their colleagues in the loop on their decisions.
When you make that decision, though, “that decision is still yours as the leader,” Judy Kay Mausolf reminds us. “Just because they shared their point of view, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to go in that direction. It's important when you do come to a conclusion that you share with the team why you decided to go this direction.” In a culture of open and positive communication, the team knows why. They’re always kept in the loop.
About Judy Kay Mausolf Judy Kay Mausolf is a well-known speaker, published author and dental practice culture specialist. She coaches dental teams who want to be better leaders, work together better, deliver service with more focus and passion, and ultimately grow their dental practice.
The Culture Camps she leads elevate trust and respect among dental team members and improve the dental practice culture through development of positive communication skills and holding each other accountable. She is author of two books: "TA-DAH! Get Happy in 5 Seconds or Less" and "Rise & Shine; An Evolutionary Journey to Get Out of Your Way and On Your Way to Success." She is also a contributing author for many dental publications. Learn more about Judy Kay Mausolf at www.PracticeSolutionsInc.net.