Great Leaders Are Made. Not Born. 

I’m often asked this question:

“When is the right time and when is the wrong time to be social with your Dental Team?”

Is there a right or a wrong answer?

One of the most difficult issues I see is the delineation between being a BOSS and being a FRIEND at the Dental Office.


There are times when it’s nice to be on friendly terms with the staff.

But I hear of times where the staff will push the boundaries and take advantage of the “friendship” with their employer to obtain advantages.

What are these advantages?

One is extra time off away from the business.

“Can I leave early to pick up my child from day care?”

This soon turns into

“I’ll be a little late tomorrow for work because I have to drop my child off at school….”

Once. Then again. And then regularly.

“We’re going away for the weekend, can I leave a little early to beat the traffic?”

Soon can become,

“I’ve booked my trip to the Maldives. Can I have the time off?”

Some staff would never dare push the envelope.

And other employers are reading this and saying:

“That’s what’s going on in my office at the moment…”

Here’s how I see it:

My wife was a schoolteacher.

When she signed up to work as a schoolteacher she had an employer.

My wife did not own her own school.

So she had to work when her employer told her to work.

And that was during school terms.

No negotiation.

It’s the same for the police and the same for the fire brigades.

In Australia, firemen are a team. They work a set roster for life.

Two days on. Two nights on. Four days off.

An eight-day rotating roster.

Same team.

Rotating together each week.

Work seven months then have four weeks off.

Same team.


Yet in dentistry it has somehow been allowed to be different.


Aren’t we a team at our office?

We’re a close-knit unit.
We know each other and we rely on each other.

And we know that when one team member is away our product, which is our service, is never as good as when they are all there together….

And who suffers?

Our patients suffer.

Our patients receive less than ideal service when one of our regular team is not there.

We know this.

Our Office then suffers.

Our Office loses its “reputation”.

“You know, something wasn’t quite right at the Dentist today?”

And when our patients feel this way…

Our business suffers and our Dentist also suffers.

Our business suffers when our patients feel disappointment. We need to avoid doing anything that creates that disappointment.

Having a tight knit team that your patients know and love is a very powerful advantage.

Patients love familiarity.

We are all creatures of habit, but sometimes, as business owners we fail to remember how important familiarity is to our customers and patients.

Make sure that when you are employing and growing your practices that your patients are being introduced to your team and know your team as your team grows.

Another issue I see is unclear role responsibilities.

I worked at a practice recently where a patient said to a Dental Assistant:

“I haven’t seen you here before. Are you new?”

And the Dental Assistant replied:

“No. I’ve been here for two years.”

This was because at this practice staff were moved around from one role to another so much that there was no regularity and familiarity built with the customers and patients.

Patients were never able to get to know their Dental Assistants.

Dental Assistants would work with a different dentist each day, as they felt like it.

And this lack of familiarity with the patients and lack of consistency was reflected in the numbers at this practice.

High numbers of patients were leaving without appointments and were failing to re-appoint for treatment.

The practice had low case acceptance and treatment acceptance numbers.

When we looked at making the dental assistant and Dentists in this office into specific teams of two, the improvements in our results were dramatic.

Appointments were made immediately and not delayed.

Case acceptance and treatment acceptances rose dramatically.

And cancellations and reschedules fell.

In this office, prior to the permanent pairings, dentists would have a different Dental Assistant each day, and sometimes two per day.

One dentist complained to me that she sometimes had three different Dental Assistants for one patient!

When we put a stop to this and created these teams as pairs, and we reminded the Dental Assistants that their actions were not showing respect to the patients and to the business and to the dentists, we witnessed dramatic improvements.

Sometimes in life we make a series of small decisions that lead us dramatically away from our original intention.

Without us realising.

And we suddenly find ourselves so far off course.

In this case, the Dental Office failed to reflect on the Practice Vision and the Practice Mission.

When we have a strong Vision, and strong Core Values, all else falls into place much more easily.

When we do not have clear values, everything becomes blurry.

And muddled.

And we end up way of course.

A great leader keeps the team on track.

On course.

And the good news is that leaders are never born.

They are always made.

And so it is possible to make a good leader out of anyone.

Anyone can develop the characteristics and traits of a great leader.

You only need to want it bad enough.


Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order


The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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