They generate huge drama….

They are rude to patients ….

They don’t get along with team members …

They have no interest in learning, growing, changing….

They are negative….

They are always late …

Whatever you fill in after the “but” is the problem and the true measure of that employee as a member of your team.

While I hear this intro often from dentists about one or more members of their team, what they really mean is that “I have a problem employee who is a very difficult human being, even though they have skills that many others have and almost anyone can learn.”

If you have one of those employees, the most important thing to realize: skills can be trained, personalities often are fixed.  And your “amazing, but” employee will not likely change.

Dentistry is mostly a customer service industry. People don’t really WANT dental work done; they need it done. We are often dealing with anxiety, fear, and just plain not wanting to be in the office. Due to this, customer service is #1 in treating patients well. Skills don’t matter if they come wrapped in a package of negativity. Being a team member with a genuine heart for helping others is job quality #1.

Remember, every interaction your team members have with patients is a representation of you. Are those interactions ones you proud of or not?

Every interaction your team members have with other team members are also representations of you as the leader. Are those interactions ones that promote a healthy team dynamic?

Most dental offices are small, less than 20 people. The people we work with every day we often see as much or more than our own families. Are these people you want to spend that much time with?

Some people aren’t cut out for this profession, and that is just fine. I would not be much good at many other jobs myself.

-Show me a person who has great job skills, but no people skills….and you have someone who will always be a difficult employee who negatively impacts the patient experience and overall teamwork.

-Show me a person who has minimal job skills, but great people skills and a willingness to learn and grow…. you have someone who with some training will become an amazing employee.

-Show me a person who has both great skills and a great positive attitude….and you have someone who always has a job and is rarely looking for another.

So next time you think: “I have a great employee, but…”, go back and really think, is this a person who displays the values I want or not? Are they going to be an asset long term? Or is the “but” going to be a constant problem?

Your team is like a garden. You will occasionally get weeds. Don’t let the weeds choke out the flowers.