5 Tips to Boost Your Team’s Morale

Monica Payne, DAADOM. Text: Real world insights from AADOM authors.

One of your most important jobs as a doctor, owner, or manager is developing your people.

Not only is it important to support them with the education and skills needed to perform their daily duties, but it’s also equally important to convey how vital they are to your practice.

How can you ELEVATE the confidence and self-esteem of your team?

1. Respect

Do you want to be respected? Of course, you do!

You should share mutual respect for your team members.

In a recent poll, when asked what matters to them most, the most common answer among employees was RESPECT.

Team members that feel respected will be more loyal to your practice.

An individual’s job often defines, in part, who they are and how they perceive themselves… respectfulness in the workplace helps produce self-worth.

Mutual respect will ensure that team members work more cohesively towards common goals.

Respected team members will take direction from you and perform at a higher level, while their disrespected counterparts will squander away an excessive amount of time pondering over your disrespectful behavior.

2. One-on-one with the doctor

This is a great way for the team members to feel “valued” and “heard.”

We no longer refer to them as “Coaching Sessions.” Instead, we use “One-on-One with the Docs” to wane any intimidation that might exist.

This is a time for the doctor(s) to meet with each team member, one-on-one, and listen attentively to any positive feedback or concerns they might have.

Our goal is to focus on how we can support them and determine any improvements that need to be made.

*Be sure to block time off on the schedule for these sessions and make them a priority.

Design a form to be filled out prior to the session by the doctor and the team member. This could include a couple of things the team member thinks they are doing well and things they could improve on.

Make sure this is a relaxed, comfortable environment, so they’ll feel free to speak openly to the doctor(s).

This is a great opportunity to build and strengthen relationships while showing the team that you care about them individually as a person.

This meeting provides an opportunity for the doctor to praise the team members for successes they might have had and create performance improvement, and set professional development goals.

Encourage transparency and ask the team members areas in which they think you can improve and be open to any suggestions they might have.

Your sincere interest in their concerns will reinforce trust and rapport, which in turn creates buy-in and commitment to you and your practice when things get tough.

bB>Finish by executing a written agreement to work on one specific goal or make one specific improvement before the subsequent coaching session. This will ensure that you are always making improvements to your team.

3. Team building

There is a very clear link between the personal bonds among your team members and their engagement level at work.

One way we can assist in building and fostering these relationships is through team building. Remember, team building doesn’t have to be lame and boring.

Prior to team meetings, plan a quick icebreaker. This will typically include a laugh or two, helping to lighten the mood, reduce tension, and improve efficiency throughout the meeting.

Plan team-building events outside the office at least once per quarter.

This doesn’t need to be huge, maybe a couple of hours after work on the last workday of the week. Painting & Pinot, cooking class, or a scavenger hunt are just a few examples.

Plan an annual company retreat.

This is the perfect time to present your “vision” for the practice and get them to buy-in.

An example of a team-building project would be to split them into teams and have them come up with a “mission statement” based on your “vision.”

You should incorporate business with pleasure… remember to schedule “downtime” or “game time” for them to relax and enjoy each other.

4. Appreciation

If you create a culture that consistently expresses appreciation, you’ll see a boost in team morale and employee retention. There are many opportunities to show appreciation to your team that take little effort or resources.

Just say THANK YOU! Don’t wait for something monumental… thank them for a good day.

Give them credit and recognition for their accomplishments. This could be verbal or a handwritten note. It’ll carry even more weight if you acknowledge them in front of the team.

There are “Hallmark” days created for this:

  • Employee Appreciation Day
  • National Dental Hygienists Week
  • Dental Assistants Week
  • Administrative Professionals Day

Have flowers delivered, treat them to a coffee, or purchase a gift card from their favorite shop.

5. Rewards

This should not be viewed as an added expense.

Your team works hard for you, if you acknowledge that with some sort of compensation, it’ll encourage them to meet or exceed their goals, strive daily to improve processes, and increase efficiency… all of these things will boost productivity and the bottom line of your practice.

  • Take them out to a happy hour or cater lunch at the office.
  • Treat them to a day at the spa.
  • Implement a bonus (before you entertain the thought of this, you need to know that you’re going to be HAPPY about rewarding your team with a bonus. If you give it begrudgingly, your bitterness will show and will affect the morale of your team).

“If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” – Marc Anthony

There have only been a couple of times in my dental career that I hated to see Monday morning roll around, but EVERY SINGLE TIME it was due to conflict in the office. It was never the patients or the workload. Actually… it was the BOSS!

As leaders, we really do set the tone for the practice. Why wouldn’t we want it to be a positive one? None of us want to be in a job where we are miserable day in and day out.

Is your team stuck in a rut of low morale and low self-esteem?

One step at a time, you can change that. Most of us are passionate about dentistry… as leaders, we should be just as passionate about people.

Meet the Author

Monica Payne in red glasses, blue top, and white blazerAfter 21 years in the floral industry, lifetime AADOM member Monica Payne, DAADOM, found her true passion when she made the change to dentistry in 2012.

She is a practice administrator for a multi-location practice, Lifetime Dental, PLLC… This text opens a new tab to the practice’s website…, in the Mississippi Delta.

In addition to managing the clinics, in 2018, she and her doctors started Surety Dental Solutions… This text opens a new tab to the company’s website…, where they provide team-building and consulting services, as well as file dental and medical insurance for other dental practices.


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