Simple Steps to Create a Lasting Impression

One hallmark of a great leader is that they take the time to remember, recognize and motivate team members. Team members often report that these small steps create a sense of comfort, camaraderie and a true desire to work to their potential. A dental office truly is a team. The best and most effective leaders understand this and take the time to acknowledge those who contribute to their success every day. Recognition breeds professional satisfaction and also contributes significantly to reducing office turnover.

Here are some proven methods to make sure that praising team members becomes part of your daily dialogue:

5 coins- Each day, how often do you hand out words of praise? Here is a trick to ensure that you pass along at least five words of acknowledgment every day: At the beginning of each day put five coins in your right pocket. During the day, look for what is going right with different team members. Pay careful attention to team members who are going the extra mile, putting in extra effort and making a conscientious effort to do a good job. Each time you observe something that supports your mission or purpose statement, take the time to acknowledge and praise that team member and transfer one coin to the opposite pocket. This may sound silly, but I have seen it work many times in countless offices. This method has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to create a lasting habit.
Set monthly goals- As you reach your goals, give individual, yet public, praise to those who helped you arrive at your destination. Again, a successful dental office is one that embraces a team approach. By celebrating as a team you create a synergy that is long-lasting. Extend an individual compliment to each team member or a small token of praise for their efforts. If you choose to offer gifts as tokens of gratitude, remember that they don’t need to be lavish or expensive. Some simple ideas might include a coffee gift certificate, movie tickets or a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant.
Write notes- It is amazing what a true old-fashioned thank-you note can do for morale. In this day and age, communication has lost that personal touch. Your team members will cherish and value virtually any hand-written note you send them. It may take an extra effort to write out a note, but the benefits will be numerous and long-lasting.
Put a personal “Thank You” on the paycheck- I had an employer that signed each of his checks with a thank you and to this day I still cherish that extra step. It felt like much more than a paycheck to me and I was very appreciative of this small, yet extra effort.
Verbally acknowledge your team members at staff meetings- By having a compliment for each team member, you will build a strong bridge. It sets precedence that you appreciate and reward good, positive efforts and naturally becomes a source of pride among your team. You will be amazed at the compliments you receive in turn. Allow your team to help you fill your cup as well.

When you put these simple, proven practices in place, your clients will naturally benefit by being surrounded by happy, valued team members. This enthusiasm is contagious and easily transferred and quickly radiates into the community. Best of all, you feel good about yourself and the team that you have created. The benefits are countless.

Shari has 17 years of clinical dental hygiene experience and her most recent work is in the field of consulting, coaching and facilitating. Her work with several hundred clients internationally has inspired teams to solidify their visions and achieve bottom-line results.