“Being a boss is the part I hate most about my job as a dentist and practice owner!” I wish I had a dollar for every time, as a coach, I have heard that lament from my coachees! You would prefer to be chairside, right? You are most comfortable when you are being a dentist, with a patient in the chair, performing dentistry…am I right?
Would it surprize you to know that many of the skills you use every day when you are with a patient, are the same skills you need to be a boss?
Oral Health Journal (February 2017), has printed a comprehensive 6 page article, written by Diva Priya Appulkuttan on scientific strategies to relax anxious patients. What jumped out of the article for me is on Page 18 – “Communication Skills, Rapport and Trust Building”. Listen to what the points the article makes in this sub-heading, then re-read it inserting “Employee” in place of “Patient”. I have highlighted here the most relevant parts of each point (paraphrased) and added a few thoughts in brackets:
- A good patient-dentist relationship is crucial for the management of anxiety.
- Communication strategies are very important for the patient-dentist relationship.
- There should always be two-way communication.
- The dentist should personally converse with the patient, and listen carefully in a calm, composed and non-judgemental way.
- Information should be acquired from the patient regarding concerns, taking time to inquire and listen.
- Patients should be encouraged to ask questions (and contribute input).
- Patients should be kept completely informed about what (needs to be) done.
- Keep inquiring, give moral support and reassurance to convince patients that their words are taken seriously.
- Dentists should give all the necessary complete information, which builds good rapport and increases the patient’s confidence.
- Patients appreciate clear, honest and straightforward (feedback).
- Avoid negative phrasing.
- Nonverbal communications are an essential skill.
- Face the patient, make eye contact (let them know they are seen, heard and understood).
- A friendly, sensitive and (empathetic) approach will be appreciated by patients.
Do you see where I am going with this? If you use only half the skills that you muster up to make patients feel at ease; seen, heard and understood, valued, appreciated and not a number, you will be half way there to increasing your “boss-ability”. Adopt the same tone, mindset and attitude that you use with patients. You’ve already got it mate….now use it!