How to Lead Your Dental Group’s Team Members to Be Something Better Than an “Employee”

Henry Ford’s legacy will remain synonymous with the automobile industry. His people skills related to his workforce, not so much.

Case in point, he once asked this question about them, “Why is it that I always get the whole person, when what I really want is a pair of hands?”

You might see some intuitive wisdom in that statement. Yet, it’s the implication that reveals Ford’s true management “colors.”

How do you see your dental group individually speaking?

The Industrial Revolution’s “production unit” mindset hasn’t faded into oblivion. Corporate structure is still default designed to champion the “hands” that do the work more than the person who brings those hands.

It might be too early into your dentrepreneurial journey to know if that mindset is true for you. But it will sharpen your leadership to be aware of how the “production unit” mindset could negatively affect your dental group culture.

A sustainable and scalable team culture must consistently evolve from a “machine” into a “personality.” What makes your team members unique to you and your organization isn’t merely what they produce, it’s who they are and how they feel about doing it.

Safeguard your dental group from entropy that causes it to be a “machine” with cogs.

No one wants to be a “cog.” Instead, create a culture of contributors in your dental group.


Cogs are replaceable. Contributors are indispensable.

Cogs are gears. Contributors are fingerprints (as in people and personality).

Cogs are firm and potentially immovable. Contributors are teachable.

How to Lead Your Dental Group Team Members to a Contributor Mindset

1-Listen for passion

Tune into more than your team member’s words. How they talk about their role says, in reality, less about their job performance.

Because anyone can “talk” a good game. What you’re listening for is passion.

Are you creating a dental group culture that ignites passion in each individual?

For your purposes, let’s define passion. Think of it as the indispensable quality that contributes something of value when others only do what’s expected.

For the “doers” (cogs) it’s showing up. For contributors it’s going beyond by owning and consistently growing their unique contribution to the team.

When you listen for the right things you will begin to lead in the direction of your strongest team contributors. Passion might speak softly but it carries a lot of weight throughout your organization.

2-Leverage personality

Leadership is intuitive. It has much to do with your perception about reality and the people who are part of it.

To lead isn’t always about metrics and trends. You must dial into the people behind your production numbers.

Patients, yes! But also your team members who are interacting with them.

Contributor interactions occur at various levels throughout your dental group organization.

Some personalities are good front desk greeter types. Others are better behind the scenes handling insurance input or administrative tasks.

Some contributors are excellent chair side. Others are better in a clinical support role.

Leaders observe more than job descriptions. Your dental group success will rise as you leverage the right personalities into the best roles.

And speaking of rise…

3-Lift everyone and everything above the norm

Someone (who I’m not sure) said, “Status quo is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in.” Normal isn’t why you chose to be a dentrepreneur®️ is it?

In fact, if status quo worked for you, you’d have continued business-as-usual. But something in you said, “No more…there has to be a better way!”

That’s the “lift” we’re talking about. The kind of lift that flows through your organization causing everyone to feel that they’re not just doing dentistry but are actually contributing to something bigger and better.

What is it? Well, that’s for you to define (and it’s better that you do).

Why? Because every dentrepreneur®️ lead dental group and the teams that comprise it is as unique as the fingerprints on those hands you know you can’t produce without.

That’s a much better way to see your team. Especially when you see them as individual contributors rather than dispensable cogs.

Looking for extra leverage and lift for your dental group? Contact us…we’re here to help you rise to the next level and beyond.

Share this Post