Are You Micromanaging Yourself Out Of Business?


It’s a condition, or affliction, that many dentists are accused of having.

Micromanaging is defined:

to manage or control with excessive attention to minor details.

to control every part, however small, of (an enterprise or activity).

I feel micromanagement is an illness from big business that has crept its way across into dentistry.

Or the term “micromanagement” has.


There are several types of micromanagement. Several strains of the one virus…

In big business there is micromanagement for the sake of power.

“If I’m the only one around here who knows how to do everything then I’m irreplaceable.”

This is not the type of micromanagement seen in dentists.

It can be seen in Dental team members though.

The biggest problem I see with Dentists who micromanage is that they have a deep lack of trust.

They do not trust others to perform the roles and the duties they are meant to do.

These micromanagers have a need to oversee everything.

These micromanagers believe that they are the only person capable of doing the job or task correctly.

They believe that nobody else can do the job as well as them, and that if anyone else tries, then the micromanager will only just have to do the job over again anyway.

But there are other types of micromanagers.

Some micromanagers just enjoy the power. They are control freaks, and so by not sharing some duties, they maintain their control.

Other micromanagers are just overly cautious. They don’t believe that there are people in their organisation capable of doing certain duties, so the micromanager keeps those duties for themselves. In these instances, nobody ever gets the opportunity to show the micromanager that they are capable of taking over these duties. And as such, these micromanagers never feels as though their people will ever develop those competencies that are needed.

Some other micromanagers feel that they need to be seen to be being hands on, and as such feel that by letting go they lose connection. So they micromanage to maintain that feeling of being a part of the team, rather than being apart from the team.

Finally there are dentists who micromanage because that’s all they’ve seen. When they worked as an associate, their principal dentist was a micromanager. So these younger dentists feel that this is normal behaviour.

I think that Dental Practice, by nature, tends to create micromanagement.

There are many things that a Dentist does that nobody else in the Office is allowed, by law, to do.

And so the Dentist begins to assume and take on other roles, sometimes all other or many other roles, in the Office.

He thinks, well if I’m doing this [drilling teeth] then I may as well just assume this other duty, and this other task, and this other role as well.

I think a lot of the mindset of a micromanaging dentist comes from the fact that his name is on the door.

“After all, this is Dr. Ima G. Dentist DDS, and if things don’t go as they should then it’s my name that ends up in the mud. So I better make sure that that never happens.”

Is that what happens?

How does it happen?

I think the micromanagement gene grows because in dentistry, as the owner, we spend so much time doing the doing of dentistry, that there is not so much time to be overseeing the other tasks, and they either get done poorly, or they sometimes slip off the end of the earth.

And get forgotten completely.

Have you ever had that thought?

“Why aren’t we doing that procedure/report/protocol any more?”

Of course you have.

And not only once.

You can probably think of a reasonable list of times.

Chances are that these individual tasks, at each time, have simply been neglected, and then forgotten.

And it’s these continued occurrences of neglect that have led you to take on the management of those duties yourself.

It has to be simpler to manage a checklist of duties and task than to manage each and every task in its entirety.

Because of its nature, Dental Practice is different.

Different to other businesses.

The owner of the business is responsible for what drives the business, and that is the doing of the dentistry.

And while he’s doing the dentistry, so much is going on and not going on behind him.

As such, the profession of Dentistry almost lends itself to micromanagement.

A good business owner Dentist will develop systems of delegation, and protocols of reporting, to prevent micromanagement from taking root in his business.

We want to develop leadership in our Dentists.

Not micromanagement.

Because micromanagement is so tiring…

If we mange correctly we can grow our people, by trusting and nurturing them.

It’s very difficult to nurture while micromanaging.


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