HR & Compliance |4 min read

How to Build a Strong Dental Team


AADOM author, Liz Russell, DAAD with text, "Real-word insights from AADOM authors"

The ability to cultivate, build, and maintain a strong team is an essential part of any successful, albeit thriving dental practice.

Given today’s labor shortage, especially in our field, developing and retaining good people is of the utmost importance!

Building a strong sense of “team” will help create an environment of interdependence and trust and will help keep your staff motivated, excited, and proud of their job and the group they belong to.

Strong teams are not created by one’s ability to hire the most qualified candidate. They are built through the effective communication of a common goal, a common purpose that is shared by all.

As a team leader, one of the most important aspects of your job is to create a clear and well-defined vision for your office, better known as a vision statement.

Creating a clear vision statement as a leader

The lifeblood of any organization in any field is its people. Ask any leader from the world’s most successful companies what they believe is the single most important contributor to their ongoing success and they’ll tell you, it’s their people.

So why not center your vision statement around your team? An example could be:

Our people understand the business, know what is expected, and strive to perform within an environment of reliance, trust, and fun.

Using the above vision statement as a guide, let’s break it down into parts.

1. “Our people understand the business.”

Sure, the knee-jerk answer to that statement is we are in the business to earn profit, pay people, and keep the lights turned on.

But how many successful dental practices can you think of that have the attitude of “we’re in the business to make money?” I would guess not too many. The bare-bones reason is to ensure your patients have access to world-class dental treatment and care.

2. “Our people know what is expected”

There is nothing more frustrating to an individual trying to fit within a dental team than having an unclear and undefined idea of what they are expected to do.

As a team leader, it is imperative that every member of your team has a well-defined understanding of their role and the importance of how it helps to achieve the overlying goal of the collective team.

Clear job descriptions and regular team meetings to reinforce or adjust job descriptions and expectations should be performed on a frequent basis. Part of knowing what is expected is having the right skills to perform those job roles.

In order to achieve the overall company vision, your team personnel will need to have access to CE courses, maintain certifications, and stay up to date with new or improved technologies.

3. “Our people strive to perform within an environment of reliance, trust, and fun.”

Creating an office environment where the success of the whole team is dependent upon everyone performing at an optimum level is “office nirvana” in my mind!

Every team member must be willing to trust in their co-worker and to be unafraid to speak up when they see an opportunity for improvement in terms of operational efficiency or effectiveness. And lastly, to have fun at what they are doing!

That’s where you as a team leader can interject fun while bringing your team closer together. Team building can include any action or method that brings a group of employees together and motivates them to work as a collective unit, resulting in improved productivity and morale.

The better your team members get to know each other the more connected they will feel with each other.

Along the way of learning and growing together by living out your vision statement, your team will learn to appreciate collaboration, communication, leadership, and the sheer value of having fun!

Meet the Author

Liz Russell in a black topLiz Russell, DAADOM has worked in the dental industry for over 40 years.  The last 16 years has been spent with Charles Ashley Mann and Associates … Opens in a new window to a dentist’s website… in Cary, NC.

She began her career with an after school job at her local dentist’s office, where she was trained as an assistant.  Through the years she has worked the front desk, been a trainer for Eaglesoft, supported her own Practice Management business, and managed multiple location practices.

Liz is Co-President of AADOM’s local Triangle Chapter in Raleigh, NC … Opens in a new window to a AADOM chapter website… .  Liz was inducted in September of 2021 into AADOM’s first class of Diplomates.


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