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6 Things the Dental Team Expects From Their Leader

6 Things the Dental Team Expects From Their Leader
Bob Bowers

Human beings are complex, and leading a group of people is not for the faint of heart, the spineless, the heartless or the unkind. With the multiplicity of the human personality, how does one navigate the needs of their team while still getting the job done?

We took notes from Tony Robbins and boiled it down to the basics. No matter a person’s personality type, these six needs are fundamental to all of us in the workplace. If you are a leader, pay attention, these six things might change your office.


Give your team members

Certainty – Everyone needs to know that the sun is going to rise tomorrow and that the doors of the business will be open.  Base level requirements for everyone is the ability to rely on some things being certain and reliable. Without base level certainty, you will have wishy-washy employees looking for the exit the first chance they get. They won’t commit to you if they don’t feel like you have committed to them.

Uncertainty – Yep, we all also need an element of uncertainty in our lives.  Will I have the opportunity to do something different today? How will patients react to the new hygiene program changes we are implementing? How will my boss react to my idea for change in my department? There must be some level of uncertainty to create the excitement that keeps people motivated. Many of the positions within a dental practice can become monotonous, sucking the life out of your team. When in doubt, create a little uncertainty and watch the team spring back to life.

Significance – An extremely important need within us all, which is often defined by our professional lives, is our significance to others and influence in our department, company, community, and the world at large.  Regular feedback clarifies each individual’s significance in their world and providing regular praise to the team reminds everyone of their significance and supports a positive outlook. Team members that are feeling insignificant will often resort to gossip and uncooperative competition with other team members. 

Connection – Regardless of an individual’s MBTI or DISC personality profile, humans need connection to other people. Some introverts may prefer a small number of deep connections while others a wide range of many connections. But maintaining a connection with those you work with and those you serve is essential to maintaining a connection with “why” we all do what we do.

Growth – This need cannot be stressed enough and it is often the most ignored.  Inspiration and passion directly stem from curiosity and personal growth.  Not only must a leader demonstrate personal growth, but also provide opportunities for team members to learn and grow in areas they have strengths or curiosity.  Many of the most productive and inspiring leaders are lifelong “learners” and your dental practice growth directly correlates to the personal growth of the team.

Contribution – Few things feel better and are more motivating than taking a step back and saying “I did that”.  When I was younger, every fall my father would purchase and have me stack what felt like endless cords of firewood. But when I was done and could see the long rows of perfectly stacked firewood, I felt accomplished and that my contribution to the family was visible. In our highly evolving and fast paced digital world, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture contribution. Discovering ways to make the contributions of your team visible will pay long term dividends.


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