“It’s better to have one person working with you than 3 people working for you.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Wow! What an honor! Just by reaching level five doesn’t mean you become team leader. Your team must give you that responsibility. I hope you’ve learned enough about HealthPark, dentistry, and people to be ready for this honor. In most cases your team already has a team leader. You will initially become an assistant team leader. This will give you time to “learn the ropes”. In general, the staff member in a team that has achieved the highest level will be the team leader and anyone else in level 5 or above will assist this leader.
Completing this level will finish your transition from having a career to having a profession. Your team leaders attend the weekly management meeting- run by the office manager. Assistant team leaders can sub for their leader in these meetings, but to maintain consistent communication, rotations of leaders are discouraged.
The role of assistant team leader includes:
From being one of the group to being a leader is not an easy transition. You can’t go out partying with your team 3 nights a week and then call one of them in for a reprimand the next morning. All of a sudden the whispers begin. “What’s gotten into Nikea? She sure has a big head! What makes her think she’s so much better than we are?” These comments hurt.
Now you have a new set of responsibilities:
Assistant Team Leader
Being an assistant team leader is a nice transition to future leader. Look for tasks that you could take over. Talk with your team leader after her weekly meetings to set up a plan to accomplish the team goals. Each month review the strategic plan goals for the month. Once a month run your team meeting. Talk to the other team leaders. Are there any projects that you could help them with? The rest of the of the material in this section will help you with leadership skills, but the most important coaching is – Do it! It is like any skill, the more you use it, the better you get.
Here are some suggestions for preparing your team for your new leadership role.
Coaching for new leaders
You will need these skills ‑ and be able to teach them to your team.
Being a team leader gives you significant influence on:
*Document each team member’s employment file thoroughly/carefully.
As you develop your team, remember what each of them was trained to do by their families, school, and other jobs:
Your primary task as you shape your team is to create HealthPark’s expectations:
Now let’s look at how you can structure your team so that leading will be easier.
“There’s nothing so rewarding as to make people realize they are worthwhile in this world”
One significant responsibility of being a team leader is to follow the training manuals. Part of following these levels is to help keep them updated. Often, this will mean you need to personally update a level.
Instructions to update a level
Most of the updates that you will be adding will be specific instructions on HOW to do some task. It is important to write these in order – Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, etc. and you must make sure that you are specific enough that your teammates can follow your directions without having to already know what they are doing.
To practice writing instructions (and to get signed off on this level) please write the steps for one of the following tasks:
Presenting New Responsibilities & Projects to Your Team
Another significant responsibility of being a team leader is to receive new projects/tasks from Dave and the doctors and to present them to your team. Often, this will mean that you will need to tell your team that they need to add “one more thing” to their already busy days. You will have to know how to present this new project, why it needs done, how to answer questions about it and how to handle the morale of the team regarding this new project.
Instructions to successfully present a new project to your team
Following up on Projects & Making sure you get them done
Projects are distributed to each team on Tuesday at the Team Leader meeting. Jill assigns projects to the Team Leader who then assigns project to specific team members. During Tuesday meetings projects are handed out. The project is explained on what needs to be done, why and in what time period and who to ask for questions.
Steps to Follow for Team Leader
Confirming Team Schedules
Part of the team leader’s responsibility is to check her team’s TimeClock vs. schedule. You are checking for the following:
If you identify a staff person having problems with their schedule, then write down what these problems are and you, the staff person and Jill will sit down with the staff person to discuss these problems and ask the staff person to come up with a plan to improve. Then you will check their schedule again the next month to see if these improvements have been successful – and then meet briefly with the staff person either to congratulate them on their improvement or ask for another plan to make things better.
Successful team leaders find ways to involve the team members in making decisions and achieving goals. The current term used to define this is “empowerment.” Here is a list of strategies that either enhance or destroy empowerment:
‑ Provide opportunities for ‑ Give one‑way directives
employees to participate in ‑ Criticize ideas
developing goals ‑ Take back their authority
‑ Provide positive reinforcement ‑ Second‑guess their actions
‑ Show interest in their career and decisions
development ‑ Do all the talking and
‑ Listen never the listening
‑ Allow employees to suggest ‑ Give inconsistent messages
different ways of doing work ‑ Not allow their input and
‑ Delegate responsibility and participation
authority ‑ Give them a job, let them
‑ Clearly define their roles and do it and than tell them
your expectations it’s all wrong
‑ Set high standards ‑ Provide only negative
‑ Demonstrate that you trust them feedback
‑ Coach ‑ Give them a job, then
‑ Ask for help take it back
‑ Develop their skills ‑ Discourage your employees
‑ Provide specific feedback from interacting with
‑ Listen to problems and help other departments
‑ Encourage learning from ‑ Express unclear goals
mistakes ‑ Assume people know what
‑ Constantly look over your
‑ Do everything yourself
‑ Advocate status quo vs. change
Now you understand the team process, so it’s time to get to work. You may want to go back and reread the previous material, because now you’re going to begin to apply it in developing your team.
So now you’ve picked your project and it’s time to plan how you are going to lead your team. Here are some suggestions.
As you work through this project follow these guidelines and record them in the staff member’s personal file.
How to handle a team member’s failure
How to handle a team member that won’t do what you ask
We will measure your effectiveness as a team leader by:
Reward a team member who does well with a special project
Organize you desk
Giving Performance Feedback
Praising: Catching People Doing Things Right
DO ‑ be immediate
‑ be specific
‑ tell the person what they did right
‑ tell the person how you feel
‑ encourage the behavior
Don’t ‑ yes “but”
‑ assign more work
‑ save it up
‑ be insincere
Reprimand: Feedback for high performance
DO ‑ be immediate
‑ communicate in private
‑ do your homework
‑ be specific
‑ tell the person what they did wrong
‑ tell the person how you feel
‑ affirm their past performance
‑ maintain their self‑esteem
Don’t ‑ Attack the person or their personality
‑ store up reprimands
‑ reprimand a learner
“I” Message ‑ When, I (feel) because (consequences).
Here are some situations you may encounter:
Be sure to block out at least 5 minutes each day to write a diary of all the events/decisions of your team. Don’t rely on your memory to keep track of what happened. Don’t leave your diary where people can pick it up and read it. Try to make 80% of your comments positive.
An important part of quality management is measurement of your success. Try these approaches from the notes in your diary.
Finally, try these case studies and discuss them with Dr. Smith
Please finish these statements
Situation #1 ‑ A dental assistant who is very good at assisting the dentist usually leaves for lunch early and zooms out at the end of the day without helping others take care of common duties (sterilization, lab clean up).
Situation #2 ‑ A hygienist has just started at your office. She has 5 years experience as a hygienist, yet you are getting patient complaints that she is rough.
Situation #3 ‑ A dental assistant who is good at her dental assisting task is constantly coming to you with “tales” about what others are not doing in their job. She wants you to solve the problems.
Situation #4 ‑ A staff member has been in the office for several years and has always done a good job. She is currently having a problem dealing with other team members and you. She seems moody and snaps at patient sometimes. She is valuable but her behavior is affecting morale.
Increase Your Coaching Impact
What I worry most about before a coaching session is … ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Some things I fail to do even though they would help me in a coaching session are…_________________
The best thing that can come from a coaching situation is…_____________________________________
I feel most uncomfortable during a one on one session when…___________________________________
As a coach, I resent it when… ___________________________________________________________
My greatest strength in coaching team members is… _________________________________________
When a coaching session is going well and then a disagreement arises, I tend to…___________________
I usually hide or camouflage my feelings when …____________________________________________
My greatest personal challenge is ….______________________________________________________
What do you want your team to let you know _______________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________?
Dental Industry – Advocacy
As you broaden your interest in dentistry beyond your position & beyond HealthPark, you may want to be aware of and help to influence the direction of the dental industry. It is important to know what state and national issues are ongoing that we may want to incorporate into HealthPark. For example, one issue that directly affected our practice was the approval of the State Board to allow hygienists to practice without being under the direct supervision of a dentist as long as certain guidelines were followed. We learned about this issue and reviewed the guidelines and have implemented this “unsupervised hygiene” practice into HealthPark.
There are 2 excellent online resources for dentistry and small business issues. For dentistry, www.ada.org provides current info on a variety of topics – their government and advocacy section for dental professionals is a great area to review on a regular basis to be aware of legal issues. For small business, www.nfib.com (National Federation of Independent Business) has info on national and state issues as well; just select Ohio to see our state issues.
Completed projects on page 106
Leading your team meeting
Your primary responsibility as team leader is to run your team meeting. Held on Tuesdays during the lunch hour – this is our primary method of communication up from team members to management and down to team members from management – and you are the key communicator! On top of information sharing and gathering, your other significant responsibility as the team leader is to maintain the morale of your team.
To summarize – your job with the team meeting is to:
Keep a positive morale on your team; Share information (up and down); Assign & accomplish projects
To help you gain feedback on how you are doing in your meeting – here is a questionnaire:
Please let your team leader know how your team meeting is going. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) please rank your satisfaction with the Tuesday meeting.
__________ I look forward to attending the team meeting.
__________ I gain good information from the team meeting.
__________ When I am assigned a task, I understand why it needs to be done.
__________ When I am assigned a task, I know when it is due to be completed (deadline)
__________ My team leader handles negative comments from team members well and they do not disrupt our meeting or bring everyone down.
__________ I regularly receive compliments in the meeting.
__________ I regularly give compliments in the meeting.
__________ My team leader rarely has a bad day and is grumpy in the meeting.
__________ I understand why Dr. Smith attends our meeting and I see value in his being there.
__________ I understand why Dave attends our meeting and I see value in her being there.
__________ I leave the team meeting feeling positive about my team and the practice.
Being promoted to a team leader is a great opportunity but also a great responsibility. The hardest transition I faced was the friendship I had with my co-workers changes. I found it works best to maintain your friendships with your co-worker. Before being a team leader I would listen to the problems my co-workers had, but I sometimes found myself as the mediator in situations, this is where you’re called upon to solve their problems, and to solve them in a timely manner before it affects the work environment and production. Of course, that is easier said than done. The difficult part about this is trying to please both parties without upsetting someone or hurting their feelings, but sometimes that can’t be avoided. As a team leader your co-workers look up to you, they will not fully understand the position you are now in. Your work ethics and personality will reflect upon them. The more work you perform will drive your team to do more work. The more you do for your team the more they will be willing to help you along. Your team will be led by your actions. Having a strong positive attitude about your work is a great way to keep team morale high. At times you will be frustrated and it will be difficult sometimes, but try not to let it show and keep a calm, composed, mature demeanor about it. This will reflect that you are a strong leader and your team will respect you more at the end of the day. Some days will be smooth sailing, other days will be choppy, and you never know at the start of the day what will happen. The most rewarding part of this position is when you help someone out, when you leave work knowing your team is happy with you. It is a rewarding feeling to know you have helped both your patients and your team with their problems.
When you are the problem with your team
No one ever said leading a team is easy. You are responsible for keeping your team on track and doing most of the troubleshooting. This is also probably your first leadership role – and you’re only beginning to learn how to lead. Don’t take it too hart. This is new to your team as much as it is to you.
It will be hard to avoid an emotional response, but the more you are emotionally “hooked” the less effective you’ll be in figuring out what the PROBLEM is. That’s right, you’ve had several levels to practice problem solving. The more you can just treat this as another problem (and put your emotions on the shelf) the more effective you’ll be.
As soon as you sense there are some issues, get with the 1 or 2 members on your team and ask if they are noticing anything. If they are too, then tell Dave and Dr. Smith. At your next team meeting, tell your team you’re feeling tension and you want to do what you can to get rid of it. Don’t challenge anyone. Just give them a questionnaire to fill out on you. Stress it’s anonymous and they can return them to Dave.
Evaluation For Team Leader
Please use a 1-5 scale where 3 is average:
What are this person’s strengths?
What does this person need to work on?