Leading a Team

Leading a team

Assistant Team Leader

“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:

  • Volunteer to be responsible for projects
  • Help the team leader to follow up on projects with team members
  • Support your team leader by voicing concerns privately and supporting your team leader in meetings
  • Help to reduce the stress level of your team leader by asking her on a weekly basis what you can do to help
  • Find another area in the practice that you can take leadership – perhaps clinical leadership or another business area that could be further developed and improved.

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:


  1. Was – work hard, Now – ensure the work gets done
  2. Slightly nonconformist – think independently, resist peer pressure, be creative, likes controlled, slow-paced changes
  3. Curious – lots of “why” questions
  4. Prefer to act – believe action, even if wrong, is better than sitting around
  5. Intuitive – willing to act on hunches, even when you can’t justify your actions
  6. Persistent – never say die; make your ideas work
  7. Open minded, likes to learn new things
  8. Honest, truthful – have a moral purpose
  9. Sees the “big picture”
  10. Empathetic
  11. Interested in the world around them and organizing their team to succeed
  12. Adaptable


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.


  1. Expect your relationships to change, but don’t become a “boss” overnight.
  2. Have a meeting with your team and explain your new role. “As a team leader, I’m expected to handle things differently from the way I did when I was a team member.  Sometimes I’m going to have to make decisions that some of you won’t like.  It means that sometimes I’ll have to talk to you about your performance, or turn down vacation requests, or support policies that aren’t popular.  I may even have to support upper-management decisions that the team doesn’t like.  There will be times when it won’t be easy for any of us but I think it’s important to put on the table the way things have changed, so we can all make the adjustment.” Answer these questions:
    1. What kind of leader will you be?
    2. How will you treat your team?
    3. How do you want your team to treat you?


Coaching for new leaders

  1. Avoid gossip.
  2. Don’t criticize the dentists or other team leaders.
  3. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know. You aren’t supposed to have all the answers. It’s the                   team’s job to put their heads together to find answers.
  4. Don’t be afraid to step in and lead. If the team is drifting, someone is monopolizing the group, or             two of your team members are bickering ‑ step in, stop it, and reset the directions. Timing is important. Too quick and you rob the team of learning to solve their own problems.  Too slow and the hard feelings may destroy the cohesiveness of the team.  It’s better to err on the quick side.
  5. Learn to share power. Just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean that you always have to have your way ‑ even when you’re sure your way is best.  Part of being a leader is to grow more leaders and that can only happen when they have the chance to have authority and responsibility.
  6. It’s okay to worry about your responsibilities. Part of being a good leader is to take the job seriously.  This means you’ll do what’s necessary when necessary to get the job done.  If you are willing to pay the price, so will the rest of your team.
  7. Expect to make plenty of mistakes ‑ and learn from them.
  8. Avoid dominating decision making meetings.
    1. Let others speak first.  Your comments may stop further thought
    2. Paraphrase others (active listening) ‑ especially if you disagree
    3. If you must make a position statement as a leader, let the group know it and try to lighten it up: “Let me put my leader’s hat on here for a minute”
    4. After the meeting, ask several of the team how you did.  Did you avoid dominating?  Listen well?  Help arrive at a consensus?  etc.
  1. Your team obviously wants more money and benefits, but something just as important is for                  you to show an interest and respect in them.
    1. Compliment good work
  1. Acknowledge substandard work and ask to help
  2. Know what’s important in their personal lives and show an interest in these things
  3. Tell them how (and why) they are important to HealthPark
  4. Ask their opinions about problems they are familiar with
  5. Share compliments with the entire team at our Friday meetings
  1. Set the performance standard for your team by never saying:
    1. “They didn’t get back to me.”
  1. “I thought someone else would take care of that.”
  2. “No one ever told me.”
  3. “I didn’t have time.”
  4. “I didn’t think to ask about that.”
  1. Look for ways to do more than is expected. Volunteer
  2. Stay focused on the most important issues – mutually agreed upon purpose
  3. Look for these team behaviors that signal you have problems
    1. Negative gossip
  1. No volunteers
  2. Tasks not finished on time
  3. No movement through levels by your team
  4. Careless repetitive mistakes
  5. Absenteeism
  6. Lateness
  1. Be friendly – treat them as friends, but not close personal friends. Be ready to deal with:
    1. envy
  1. anger
  2. mistrust
  3. fake friendship
  1. Tell them everything – except the occasional confidential discussions at the team leader
  2. Be loyal to your team – and they’ll be loyal to you.
  3. Always be fair.
  4. Never be too busy to laugh.
  5. Use these statements to add confidence to your shy team member:
    1. I depend on you.
    2. I have confidence you can.
    3. I need your help to –
    4. What are your ideas on –
    5. How would you –
    6. I could use your eye for details in –
    7. I knew you would beat this deadline.
    8. Good job! I’ll know who can handle this in the future.
  6. Treat part-time and high school students the same as your full-time team members.
  7. Expect the unexpected. Don’t let blown schedules rattle you.
  8. Don’t reject requests outright. Try to find a way to accomplish what the staff member wants and still fits your guidelines.
  9. Be flexible in helping your team members deal with family problems.
  10. Don’t do a vacation countdown. It makes you look like you can’t wait to leave.
  11. Don’t sell your child’s school items to your team. They may think they have to buy.
  12. Be calm when people question your ideas/decisions.
  13. The clearer you see the truth, the easier the lesson
  14. If anyone challenges your right to leadership, confront this person directly. “Our relationship has changed now.  I’m glad we’ll still be working together, but I won’t have as much time to spend with you now as I used to.”
  15. Stop sharing “secrets” about other staff members
  16. Spend very little after work time with your team members
  17. Don’t share negative doubts or observations about HealthPark with those you lead
  18. Don’t judge lifestyles
  19. Show confidence in your team by:
  20. make sure the team thoroughly understands the project you are assigning and each person’s role
  21. each person agrees to their role
  22. visible result is understood when project is complete
  23. Tips on managing staff born after 1980(generation “Y”)
  24. grew up on computers, cell phones, and video games-techno savvy
  25. independent, self-reliant, innovative, creative, quick, high self-esteem
  26. attracted to causes bigger than they are, like to help others
  27. Be willing to chip in and help with low level tasks if help is needed
  28. Keep your salary to yourself
  29. When you don’t like someone, don’t let it show
  30. Help your team
  31. Make time for them
  32. Listen to them
  33. Compliment their successes
  34. Be enthusiastic, have fun


You will need these skills ‑ and be able to teach them to your team.


  1. Listening
  2. Conflict resolution
  3. Group decisions
  4. Problem solving
  5. Managing meetings
  6. Tact
  7. Stress reduction (self and others)
  8. Common sense/good judgment


Being a team leader gives you significant influence on:


  1. Hiring team members
  2. Who does what?
  3. Evaluating team members
  4. Firing a team member


*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:

  1. don’t rock the boat
  2. do what you’re told
  3. be on time
  4. work hard
  5. don’t complain to management


Your primary task as you shape your team is to create HealthPark’s expectations:

  1. stand out, think independently
  2. be generous with your time
  3. be creative
  4. take responsibility for the team’s success
  5. communicate clearly


  1. You can comment on “attitude” even though this is just your opinion, but don’t make a habit of it.
  2. Do comment on measurable successes/failures and actual events.
  3. When you make a generalization, back it up with an example.
  4. Whenever you say some one needs to improve say exactly what they need to do to improve.
  5. Avoid placing personal or confidential information into staff files: On medication for depression            having an affair, etc.  Just note the improved behavior.


Now let’s look at how you can structure your team so that leading will be easier.


  1. Build a trusting environment
    1. Be consistent ‑ People need order. They need to know they can count on your response to be the same in similar situations.
    2. Always do what you say you’ll do.
  2. Never tell a team member how to handle a personal problem. If    it works you won’t get the credit.  If it fails, you’ll get the blame.    Be sympathetic.  Don’t ask many questions since this can seem probing.  If the problem is serious, recommend a counselor.
  3. Become indispensible to your team
    1. Be an original thinker that cares about HealthPark
    2. Connect with your team – smile, care, think
    3. Stand up for your team and it’s members
    4. Champion our clients


“There’s nothing so rewarding as to make people realize they are worthwhile in this world”

                                                                  -Bob Anderson


  1. Make your team members feel important
    1. Devote the first and last few minutes of a meeting with concerns for the individual needs/happenings of your team.
    2. Compliment in public when someone does well and correct in private.
    3. Ask for advice from a team member who understands the problem and, if possible, follow that advice.
    4. Performs small courtesies for you ream. Get something for someone.  Pick up something that’s dropped.
    5. Avoid these bad assumptions
  2. They won’t understand the details.
  3. If you start explaining, they’ll go off on some other issue and get bogged down.
  4. This is simple. They shouldn’t need to ask questions.
  5. I’ve got it worked out. Their ideas won’t help.
  6. Develop these characteristics in your team
  7. Team goals are as important as individual goals.
  8. Team understands their goals and is committed to achieving them.
  9. Team climate ‑ loose, informal, empowered, trusting.
  10. Diverse, opposing ideas are encouraged and staff will take risks when appropriate.
  11. Leadership is rotated. No one dominates.
  12. Decisions are made by consensus and supported by everyone.


Updating Levels

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

  1. Find the section of the level that is closest to the task/topic you want to add/update. For example, if I want to add instructions for sending a health history via email, then I would look for the new patient scheduling section (level 1 secretary task #12).
  2. Get the original manual and read the existing info.
  3. If this is a brand new task, then on a blank piece of paper, write the steps to achieve this task. Note in pencil in the original manual, the exact spot you want your new task to be inserted.
  4. Then, give the original manual with your new task to Dr. Smith for his review. He will approve and/or edit and give to a typist to make the changes permanent.
  5. Follow up with Dr. Smith so that once these changes are typed, you get copies and review with your team.



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:

  1. How to make your favorite breakfast
  2. How to drive to work
  3. What is your morning routine


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

  1. Discuss the project at the team leader meeting and reach agreement on what is expected.
    1. How will this improve HealthPark?
    2. Is there a better way?
    3. What could go wrong?
  2. Write down the name of this project & why it needs to be done
  3. Clarify what benefit this project brings – write it down so you will remember
    1. to you
    2. to your team
    3. to our clients
    4. set measurable goals
  4. Clarify who should do the project – maybe a C&S person?
  5. Set the deadline for this project – and why it needs done on that timeframe.
  6. Once you completely understand what this project entails and you have enough notes, then you should include this project in your team leader notes. Write down the name of this project & that the team will discuss it.
  7. At the meeting, explain to the team what the project is, why it is important, how its going to help the practice & the deadline it needs accomplished by. Ask your team for questions about the project. Answer all their questions fully – always ask, “Does anyone else have any more questions? Does everybody understand what we’re trying to do here?” Once you have agreement, then decide who should be responsible – write down that person’s name on your notes along with the deadline. Ask that person when they plan to work on this project (for secretaries, folks should bring their planners to the Friday meeting so they can pencil in new projects). For team members that struggle to accomplish their projects, you might want to go the extra mile & make a note in your planner to go to them at that day/time they said they were going to tackle this project to make sure they are on track & going to get it done.
  8. It is your responsibility to make sure that this project gets done. Check on the results of your project (do not just ask the person if they did it!) on the day after the deadline. Be prepared to report to the next team leader meeting on this project.


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

  1. Assign project
  2. Ask team member about progress on Tuesday before your TL meeting
  3. Report progress in Tuesday Team Leader meeting
  4. Follow up with staff member at team meeting
  5. Follow up with team member about progress on Thursday
  6. Report progress at Team Leader meeting – Decide if enough progress has been made, if yes continue with steps 2-5. If no, go to step 7
  7. Advised Team member on Tuesday of Team Leader meeting that project must be done by that Tuesday
  8. Follow up with Team member on Tuesday
  9. If still not done – let Dave know and get some coaching.



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:

  • Staff clocking in more than 15 minutes before their scheduled start time (maximum for assistants is 20 minutes early)
  • Staff not taking lunches according to their schedule
  • Staff not staying until after their schedule ends – i.e. if they see patients till 7pm then their clock out time should be after 7pm
  • Frequent errors in clocking in/out – the staff should make a clock in/out error at the most once/month

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:


EMPOWERING                               DESTROYING

‑ 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

you want

‑ Constantly look over your

employees’ shoulders

‑ 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.




  1. Copy the vision of the practice and your team and make this section number one in a 3 ring notebook/diary of your leadership.
  2. Write down the goals from the last strategic planning meeting for the doctors and each team as well as the production/collection goals.
  3. List the management issue/problems that you are most concerned with.
  4. From your “C” list which of your team would be affected for each item?
  5. Which members of your team could help solve each of those items?
  6. Pick one issue that affects the whole team and brainstorm it.
  7. What restrictions (time, money, people) do you have to solving this problem?


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.


  1. Your primary objective is to help your group achieve the goal, not to lead them.
  2. The group may go about achieving the goal different than you would.
  3. Staff may make mistakes along the way ‑ and that’s okay.
  4. Allow the team members to deal with conflicts among themselves without your interference.
  5. If you have ideas on how to help, be sure to give them.
  6. If you disagree with the team, make sure you clearly understand their position.
  7. Your actions with the team model how the other should act.
  8. Get everybody together every once in a while and fill them in on their progress.
  9. People work best at what they like to do


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


  1. Failures happen. They are ok.
  2. Failures provide you teachable moments. You have the staff member’s attention.
  3. Be kind or your team will hide their failure
  4. Don’t just blow it off. Correct it, but don’t focus on the person.
  5. Keep the failure private.


How to handle a team member that won’t do what you ask


  1. Occurs because she thinks:
    1. Doesn’t think you deserve to be a team leader.
    2. Believes you’ve asked her to do something below her level.
    3. Believes you don’t respect/like her.
    4. Don’t get angry – stick to the facts- state your cause.
    5. Listen to her response.
    6. Discuss consequences. “Emily, when you don’t help, it causes me to (describe).
    7. Get agreement or bring the matter to Jill.


We will measure your effectiveness as a team leader by:

  1. Effectiveness of your team to reach strategic plan goals
  2. Ability to generate cost savings ideas
  3. Number of levels your team completes annually
  4. Productivity


Reward a team member who does well with a special project

  1. Interesting, fun, easy
  2. What they like to do, reinforces their self – image


Organize you desk

  1. Handle all mail, e-mail and voicemail early in the day
  2. Have an in box, notepaper
  3. Keep some resources out where you can use them-dictionary, clock, pen, pencil
  4. Have files for information storage





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”

‑ criticize

‑ 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

‑ Pause

‑ affirm their past performance

‑ maintain their self‑esteem


Don’t   ‑ Attack the person or their personality

‑ store up reprimands

‑ threaten

‑ reprimand a learner


“I” Message ‑ When, I (feel) because (consequences).



Here are some situations you may encounter:


  1. My team rejects my ideas. – Confront your team and ask them how you can be more helpful.  Let the team do things their way as long as they achieve the outcomes you agree to.
  2. Your dentist says he wants teams but won’t give you the authority to make decisions. – Confront your dentist.  Be specific.  Ask for more authority for a specific  Keep him involved.  Show you learn from your mistakes.  One success sets a pattern for his relationship with you for future projects.
    1. Could you give me an example?
    2. Can you tell me more about why you feel so strongly about this?
    3. Is this what you meant to say?
    4. Doesn’t that go against what you said before?
    5. Doesn’t that point connect to what I said earlier?
    6. I think we’re getting off track. Are we discussing the real issue?
    7. What are some possible solutions?
    8. What would it take to resolve our differences?
  3. A team member wants more responsibility than you believe she is ready for. See #2.
  4. You begin to doubt your ability to lead a team after the team has a major failure. – You’ll need 6-12 months to become comfortable leading a team. Ask for feedback from your team and other team leaders.  Don’t give up.
  5. You don’t feel you’ve got enough time to lead your team. Fight the tendency to think you’ll just do it yourself since it’s quicker than having a new person stumble through it.  Hang in there.  Your training is an investment in everyone’s future.
    1. delegate more tasks, not less
    2. eliminate or postpone some non-essential tasks
  6. Disagreeing on a project/situation
  7. Get specifics
    1. What did she say/do
    2. What personal qualities do I want to encourage?
    3. Why is their effort important?
  8. Ensure understanding
  9. Enhance value
    1. Identify merits (don’t verbalize yet)
    2. Do you have ideas to add
      1. Positive – specify merits, add value
      2. Negative – itemize your response, invite suggestions
    3. Invite feedback



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.


  1. Number of complaints by team members
  2. Number of compliments among team members
  3. How often do team members eat together?
  4. How often do you cover for a team member’s poor performance?
  5. How often do team members ask you to handle problems they could solve?
  6. Will they pick up trash in the parking lot as they’re walking in even though it’s not their responsibility?


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).


Communication: ____________________________________________________





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.


Communication: ____________________________________________________




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.


Communication: ___________________________________________________________________




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.



Communication: ____________________________________________________




Increase Your Coaching Impact


Coaching is…___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


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…_____________________________________



One time when I felt good about coaching a team member was…




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, 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, (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




___________________________                    _______________

Dave                                                                   Date



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.


Rank 1-10


__________                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.










Sarah’s Story


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:

  • Gives me a pat on the back once in a while.
  • Listens to me more often.
  • Doesn’t hound me.
  • Lets me make suggestions.
  • Leaves me on my own to do my work.
  • Is pleasant to work with.
  • Asks me how I feel.
  • Doesn’t try to prove to me how smart she is.
  • Isn’t negative in the weekly staff meeting.
  • Doesn’t talk down to me.
  • Isn’t being aloof.
  • Lets me know what’s going on with the team.
  • Helps me learn new things.
  • Challenges me to do better.
  • Takes an interest in my work.
  • Doesn’t criticize me around others.


What are this person’s strengths?











What does this person need to work on?