Building Positive C.U.L.T.U.R.E in your Practice

Real World Insights from AADOM Authors - Zachary Shelley

One of our main goals as office managers is to build positive team culture. Doing so helps retain staff and creates a happy, healthy team. Additionally, our patients will experience the benefits of better customer service and clear communication. A great culture is necessary to ultimately reduce stress and build an unstoppable team.

Here are the 7 key points to keep in mind for building positive team culture in your practice.


As a leader, clear communication is extremely important. Creating clear expectations with your team will allow them to thrive like never before. Don’t forget that this step starts with you – communication goes both ways, after all.


Every day, we take the time to listen to our patients and try to better understand their situation so that we may serve them better. Do the same thing with your TEAM. Take the time to understand what they need.

Understanding them better will allow you to find the root of issues in the office in a different way. It allows you to be proactive rather than reactive, and helps your team members feel appreciated and heard.


Office managers are leaders, but what does true leadership look like?

We need to be genuine, transparent, and lead with humility. If we make a positive change in ourselves first, we will see positive growth in our team past what we would ever expect. Being a good leader takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but it is worth it for you and your team.


Without teamwork, positive culture is not possible. And once again, it starts with you! We need to be ready to help wherever needed. When your team sees you stepping up to help, they will be more likely to help their teammates in turn. We need to share the burdens of the office together. We succeed and fail as a team.


The definition of unity is the “state of being united or joined as a whole.” It ties right into teamwork. When we work in unison, the office will run like a well-oiled machine. The opposite of unity is division. Try to identify barriers between team members and areas of the practice, and see how you can enhance cohesion across these lines.


Respect is HUGE! Having mutual respect in your office will either build your team to be the best or it will tear it apart. We must build our relationships in our office with respect being our top priority; a lack thereof is toxic and can drag down every aspect of the practice. Work hard on treating your team with respect.


The last step in building a positive culture in your practice is encouragement. Take time out of every day to encourage your staff with big and small wins! Encouragement makes your team feel like their hard work is seen and appreciated, and can help bring growth.

Take a few minutes each day and see how you can implement these seven keys to building a positive culture in your practice. It will be worth it.

About the Author

Headshot of Zachary Shelley

Zachary Shelley, FAADOM is the office manager at Satellite Family Dentistry and Beachside Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. He has been in Dentistry for over 12 years and loves every bit of it. Zachary was inducted as an AADOM Fellow in 2022. Dentistry has allowed him to use his skills to help grow two successful practices and build an amazing dental team.

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