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Effective Leadership Among the Dental  Team


Amber Auger R.D.H.

The typical dental office of the 21st century is a fast pace, technology driven, and offers multiple services in the office. Dentists often seek strategies to reduce cancellations, increase revenue, and refine employee skills, all of which can be achieved through positive and effective leadership.  The key to a successful practice is creating a positive organizational culture by establishing effective leadership and well defined roles which then promote communication among different departments.


Organizational culture is defined by the values and behaviors that the organization upholds, which contributes to the unique mission that  members strive to achieve. 1  Relationships between employer and peers, fluid communication among multiple departments, and correspondence between employees and technology are factors that create the organizational culture. The way that the organization conducts business and resolves conflicts through interactions with employees, customers, and the community shapes the culture of the organization as well. The ability to share  ideas openly, while also providing personal expression, and management as well as preventing conflicts provides a positive organizational culture.1 A positive organizational structure highlights the mission goals to be more desirable, as employees respect their employer.

Establishing effective  hygiene protocols is essential to creating continuity among the multiple clinical providers. A team that understands the rationale behind the protocols will be more motivated to meet them. Tangible guidelines for clinical expectations often accompany a daily production goal and some offices offer financial incentives for exceeding those goals. Without proper leadership, employees  may not operate at the same level as their peers.

Identification of motivators for each employee should be defined in an annual or bi-annual review. Employees may be motivated by verbal recognition, while others are motivated by financial bonuses, or promotions with  additional tasks. Determining a way to motivate the team  to work  as a collaborative unit will increase patient compliance, decrease employee turnover, and increase the revenue of the office. Employees that are mentored and have their concerns addressed will be more likely to excel in the office goals.

Monthly department meetings are essential to maintaining and updating previously set goals. Identifying obstacles that employees are facing, hearing office suggestions, and allowing employees to share their opinions, will generate compliance.  Reaffirming new protocols  is the responsibility of the leadership. Without an effective leader, the employees’ potential can be limited or stifled


1. Weisbord M. Organizational diagnosis: six places to look for trouble with or without a theory. Group Organization Management. 1976;1(4):430-447. doi: 10.1177/105960117600100405.

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