Finding Your Voice with Your Team – Part Two
Part Two of the Three Part Series “You Have a Voice”
In addition to finding your inner voice and how you speak to yourself, we need to know how we ought to speak with our team. I think team dynamics is the most challenging part of my career. Give me patients, numbers, spreadsheets, reports, or inventory, any day and I’ll excel! However, team dynamics and vital discussions have been a challenge for me.
When I first started “managing people,” I was extremely compassionate. Perhaps too far to the side of being passive. You see, I have the ability to put myself in anyone’s shoes. I will go as far as to imagine myself in their dilemmas. However, I quickly learned that instead of helping them, I allowed myself to be pulled into their problems. I beg you, if this resonates with you, please find another way to reach your team. I believe we can listen and understand, but then we have a voice and offer our objective advice.
We all know how easy it is to open your door and invite people to unload, but we must also discipline. Let’s face it; we must be the mom and the dad of the team. Sometimes this can confuse the team members, and we have to find that perfect balance.
Truth #1 – They need a leader they believe in.
Do you lead by example, or do you lead by words alone? I would never ask anyone on my team to complete a task that I wouldn’t or haven’t done myself. Giving them tangible actions will help them not only hear your voice but see you put your words into action. Take ownership of your words. If you say you are going to do something, then do it. If it takes you longer, follow up with a conversation so they know you haven’t forgotten.
Truth #2 – Let each team member have their own voice.
Trust is a 2-way avenue. If you don’t find the time or a way to listen, how can you expect team members to trust and listen to you? Each person brings new creativity and ideas and is as important as anyone else. Be careful, though, sometimes you can’t give them what they want, and that’s okay too!
People can be funny. If it’s not a reasonable request, you must be the one to tell them. Sometimes you may have a person on your team that just likes to complain or whine about everything. Your job is to nip it in the bud before it brings your whole team down. Help them to see that their vocalized discontent is not helping the team. We had a saying in my son’s youth group when we went camping, “don’t complain about the obvious.” Meaning, doesn’t complain that it’s hot, don’t complain that you’re tired, etc. So, in a team setting, don’t complain that we had to add an emergency to the schedule, don’t complain that the doctor had to take another impression, and now you’re running five minutes late; it only brings negativity to your whole team.
Truth #3 – Be authentic.
Even when you must have that extremely vital discussion, part of having a voice with your team is owning your own mistakes. How can we expect them to own theirs if we don’t own ours? I learned how to graciously own my mistakes by watching a team member do this many years ago. She was leading by example and didn’t even know it. You need to be real with your team so they can be real with you. Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay! However, they need to respect your position. If not, show them the door and wish them well. There have been a few people along my journey that wouldn’t be happy with any manager. Be authentically you, and most people will listen when you speak.
Your team needs you to be an example. They are watching you and learning from your words and actions. They need a leader who will listen and not be afraid to have tough conversations and make tough decisions. Be confident in your choices and trust yourself.
Read all three parts of the Series “You Have a Voice” here:
About the Author
Jana Haller, FAADOM has worked in the dental field since 1983. With almost 40 years of experience, she has served as a Dental Assistant, Patient Coordinator, Office Manager, Business Manager, and a trainer for dental insurance submissions. She currently works as an Office Manager for Brite Orthodontics in New Hartford, New York.