DR. ACE GOERIG
OWNER & CO-FOUNDER
As humans, we are hardwired to find risks and negativity. It’s built into our survival response. Rather than forge confidently into the forest, our instinct is to be cautious about the unknowns potentially lurking behind every tree … lions, tigers and bears, and so on.
For your team, the only lion, tiger or bear they will likely have to deal with is you when you’re in a bad mood or when something goes wrong. Your team is sensitive to your reactions, and there is a vast difference between teams with negativity-focused leaders and those with positivity-focused leaders.
Negative leaders react in ways that the team learns to avoid. Whether it’s anger, blame seeking or even the expression of disappointment, team members are uncomfortable in these situations. They adapt through avoidance, finger pointing, or making sure they cover their tracks whenever they perceive a situation that might set you off. In short, they become risk-averse and, rather than lean into the challenges of practice growth and success, they shrink away.
The inevitability of missteps
Growth in any worthwhile endeavor means achievement at a new level, which by definition is the result of you and your team forging into new territory. In these situations, no one can expect perfect results the first time so there are always going to be disturbances, roadblocks and unexpected twists and turns.
To succeed in growth requires you and your team to embrace those risks, to learn how to improve performance and productivity, and to employ creativity in finding effective solutions to things you’ve never done before. A negativity managed team is rarely up to the task, which makes your job as a leader so much more difficult. Like Sisyphus forever pushing a boulder uphill, it takes exceptional willpower and strength to make daily progress.
The power of positivity
The opposite of a problem-fearing and risk-averse team is a solutions-focused and opportunity-energized team, which can only be created through positivity from leadership.
The first element of positivity is accepting that we deal with many complicated and detailed things in our practices. Sometimes an instrument breaks during treatment. Sometimes the team overlooks a detail that has a ripple effect. Sometimes patients arrive late or no show. Once the milk has been spilled, there is no use crying about it. As leaders, we have to put on a smile, avoid our temptation to grind everyone to a halt in order to dissect blame in the moment, and keep the team moving forward.
The second element of positivity is radiating energy for growth, which means embracing that the entire team (including you) are on a journey of learning and growth together. Perfection is not the goal, but progress is. With that mindset, individual and team efforts to improve should be shared and celebrated. As much as teams avoid negativity, they are drawn into positive recognition, reinforcement and rewards.
The third element of positivity is investing in your growth and your team so that your practice becomes a place that you truly enjoy, where you can be happy every moment you are there, and where you can have fun. Building this kind of effortless and productive environment makes it easy to smile every day because your vision and goals as a practice owner are being achieved consistently and at the highest level.
Changing the game for your team
Every problem, challenge or stress you face in your practice has a solution that involves your team. 90% of practice growth is driven by the team, so engaging your team is the #1 job of a practice leader.
A great way to bring the team together and chart a new course for growth is at the Endo Mastery 2-day seminar, “Mastering the Effortless Endodontic Practice”. Our program is specifically designed to align your team around a new vision for productivity and teamwork, and to give you the insights into daily opportunities that your team can focus on.