Thursday, 25 June 2015

Avoiding Conflict and Managing Disputes in Dental Practices

Conflicts and disputes in any work place situation can be detrimental. In a dental practice where you want your teams to be happy to improve productivity and increase patient care and satisfaction, the last thing you want is team members being unable to work together as a team.

Any dentist knows that the team working alongside them is valuable to every aspect of the practice. The majority of misunderstandings in a dental practice are a result of a simple misunderstanding for what one member may feel as unfair treatment. These situations need to be avoided in order to ensure a productive and effective team at all times, while ensuring your patients receive the highest quality support and care.

Reduce the risk of misunderstandings

The first step to avoiding conflict and managing disputes in any dental practice is to reduce the risk of misunderstandings. Misunderstandings can lead to frustration and anger, it can leave teams torn apart and can result in a group of people who find it almost impossible to work together as a cohesive team.

The first step is to ensure you understand the situation. When you are working in your surgery with patients, it’s hard to identify what has gone on behind the scenes that has caused this rift in the team. Listen to both sides of the story to identify the problem and then get the team together to discuss the problems and identify asolution that helps everyone overcome the problems as soon as possible.

Never ignore these types of problems in your practice, it is only going to cause the misunderstanding to fester. This in turn, will result in further problems, eventually effecting everyone working within the practice. In some severe instances, it can result in you losing one of your most valued team members, which is the last thing you want to happen.

Have systems in place that work

A volume of the disputes and misunderstandings can be avoided by having set systems in place. Hold weekly meetings with all your team members to discuss how the systems are working and discuss any potential problems that may be arising. This can help you identify how everyone is working together, pinpoint any small problems before they become serious and help you identify if your team is working together collectively to ensure the highest level of patient care and satisfaction at all times.

When it comes to introducing new members the team, it is important you choose with care to ensure the person you choose has the same goals and objectives as the existing team, enabling them to blend in seamlessly without too much disruption. I have always found when hiring a new team member that having a team meeting and discussing the short list is the best way to get everyone feeling involved in the decision and ensure the person I choose is one that the whole team feels they can work with now and in the future.

Treat everyone fairly

In any dental practice you will have certain members of the team that have more authority as others. As a dental practice owner or manager it is imperative that you treat everyone with the same care and respect. Be consistent in your approach whether you’re dealing with your administrative manage or dental nurse. Team members want to know that there aren’t any favourites and everyone is treated fairly at all times. This can reduce a lot of the conflict and anger that can easily fester in such a small and close knit working environment.

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