Dentists Are Like Parents And Employees Are Kinda Like Kids

What do I mean employees are like kids? If you are parents or have nephews/nieces/etc, you know that kids test your limits right? Likely, YOU yourself have tested the limits. Did you always do what your parents told you? Don’t lie. I didn’t. I didn’t as a kid and I didn’t as a teenager. I pushed curfew be it when I was 12 playing video games down the street or as a teenager out with my friends in high school.

But the question was why? Why do we push the limits? Well one reason is because it’s human nature. I don’t have kids yet, but honestly when I do, I want kids that test and push boundaries a little instead of being simply compliant kids. We push the limits because we wanted to see if what our parents said TRULY is what they mean.

So as a kid, I would go to my buddy Chris’ house down the street to play video games. I’d play and then was supposed to come back when it was dark. But what is dark? Dark is relative to everyone. Initially I’d go back before dark, but then one day decided that I wanted to push the limits because I wanted to play more. So I pushed and pushed until one day my mom yelled at me for coming home too late.

But was I done yet? Nope. I had to see if my mom was consistent. So what did I do the next time? Stay out late again. I had to CONFIRM and make sure that 1. my mom was consistent. 2. that the consequence of it was NOT out weighed by the enjoyment of more video game time. I would gladly take a slap on the wrist or a scolding if I could play more. That was totally worth it to me. Now if my mom grounded me from video games for x y z time, then YES, THAT would outweigh my testing and I’d know.

So now I want you to think about how that relates to your practice. If your employees KNEW that they could work less and get away with it because of lack of management and leadership leading to lack of consequences for them IF they were caught at work, why would they not want to work less? I propose that if you were an employee and you figured out that you could work really just 4 hours a day and spend the other 4 surfing the internet, reading Facebook, going on Instagram and watching silly cat videos on YouTube AND get paid for it, you would too. It’s human nature!!!

What I am saying is that employees, just like kids/teenagers, want to test the limits and see what they can get away with at work! My employees personally have tested me to see what I mean when I say it. If I tell them to do a task and then don’t follow up and/or follow up half-heartedly and don’t keep them accountable to what I say and intended, what does that tell them? It tells them and GIVES THEM PERMISSION to get away with it. If I give them permission once, they will test it again to see if the permission is consistent and/or can be expanded and grown!

As such, if you realize this, then you should realize the importance of management and leadership. A leader (just like a parent) sometimes has to have conversations with their employees to keep them accountable. Yes, sometimes it’s hard! But you should keep at it because if not, you will eventually lose control of your office and eventually it is your staff that runs the office and not you!

A lot of docs worry about external aspects for practice growth: more marketing for more NP, more skills to expand services, more volume etc. Never forget the one thing that you already have: your office and staff. If your office is less productive, focus on YOUR skills to lead and manage better so that INTERNALLY, the effectiveness of your office will increase.

Most of us have the intention to work hard, but slip at it if given the opportunity to do so (especially if consequences are minimal to none). Take control of your practice and start holding your team accountable and see what happens.

Tuan Pham is the creator of Dental Maverick Summit and the Dental Maverick program, an online training program designed to teach dentists leadership, management and communication skills. He’s a entrepreneur and practicing dentist in Austin, Texas and in addition to being published online and in print media, has authored two books titled: ‘Success, Profitability & Destiny Begins With You’ and ‘Dental Systems Manual’. Dentists are often well versed in clinical CE, but lack business CE. Tuan believes that successful communication facilitates acceptance of treatment plans in order to implement clinical CE. He bridges this gap, teaching dentists the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of leadership, management, and communication which allow dentists to take control of their practice and their lives. Tuan has helped many dentists double their office production and take-home income and work fewer hours per week.