AADOM MembersNews |4 min read

The Cornerstone of Teamwork: Trust

Real-World Insights by AADOM author - Dr. David Black

The ultimate goal of a team is to get results—winning results! Do you remember who the runner-up was in last week’s basketball tournament? Exactly! Results are what we look for—in our sports teams and our dental practice. That is the reason we spend time building our teams.

In Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he uses a triangle diagram to outline the root causes of dysfunction within a team. Inattention to results is at the pinnacle of his triangle while lack of trust is the base.

Trust is the foundation for building a great and successful team.

How to build a strong foundation that gets results

This starts with trust on a fundamental and emotional level; being comfortable and vulnerable with each other when discussing strengths, weaknesses, mistakes, and behaviors.

Barriers can be broken down when teammates open up in their communication with one another.

To get results, teams learn how to handle conflict in a productive manner. They can disagree agreeably and challenge and question each other, with good results. Once decisions are made, the next step is for the team to commit to the decision, with genuine buy-in from all members. Each member will become accountable to each other for the set goals. This common goal leads to the end goal: RESULTS.

How do you know if you have accomplished your results?

Dental management teams should measure their success on the outcome of a selected focus: new patients, production, collections, client satisfaction or growth. Pick one or two and help the team to rally around the focused goals.

Know the individuals who make up your team

In Jon Gordon’s Energy Bus, he shared ten principles for building a positive, high-performing team. Several were about vision and goals, but let’s focus on the “type” of team member we should look for (or avoid) and the energy necessary to keep the team going forward.

“Consider doing a DiSC personality profile study to learn the strengths and weakness of each team member and how each person functions best. Discuss the results together and work to those strengths. This is a great exercise that will help team members build vulnerability in a low-risk way and improve communication between the team.”

Avoid the “Energy Vampire”: that person who sucks the energy from your team. Identify negativity and discuss it with those personality types. Give them the opportunity to remedy that attitude. If they do not, they should be allowed to leave the team.

The MOST important thing you can do to build your team is to LOVE your teammates.  By that, I mean you must make time for them, meet with them individually, be engaged, hear them, listen to their ideas and needs and care about what they have to say. Next, recognize them. Honor them for who they are and what they do as often as possible. Praise them when you witness them doing something special or with commitment.

Be a successful CEO – Chief Energy Officer

Great leaders in dental office management serve their team in their spirit, their growth, their career, and their future. The more you serve each other, the more each team member grows and the stronger the team becomes as a whole. We should each be Chief Energy Officers in our office, responsible for lifting each other’s spirits and bringing out the best in one another.

If we will learn each other’s strengths, lift each other up, and trust in each other’s skills, dedication, and commitment, then we can commit to having meaningful discussions on hard topics. We can then resolve them in a way that allows us to hold each other accountable for our goals. We will become smarter, stronger and more dedicated to having a great team, and will accomplish more than we thought possible.


Portrait of blog author, Dr. David Black who helps teams know you've found your tribe.Meet the Author

Drawing from 40+ years of clinical experience, Dr. David Black’s focus is on speaking and coaching through in-office consultation.

His Pankey-Dawson clinical training has resulted in great success of staff retention. Dr. Black brings these qualities along with proven leadership and administrative skill to give dental management help to new doctors and associateships and increase their productivity by attention to systems.

He is a dental leader in his community and state dental boards, committees and task forces.


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