How to Establish Yourself as a Leader in Your New Practice

If you have recently purchased an existing practice you are probably facing a number of transition challenges. Not the least of your concerns will be staff related. If you have decided to retain members of the preexisting staff, you need to identify ways of putting their minds at ease while also establishing yourself as a competent business manager and doctor.

Striking this balance requires both assertiveness and compassion. Often a dental staff is left ignorant of impending transitions until the sale is completed, and feel betrayed or threatened by the news. To win over their approval and consolidate their support, try implementing the following tactics:

  1. Ask for your team’s help. Including them will not only show your leadership but instill a sense of worth.
  2. Implement changes slowly. This allows time for the staff to acclimate to your leadership style and practice updates.
  3. Meet privately with each staff member. Ask them what is important to them, what they like about the practice, and what they think could help the practice improve.
  4. Develop goals together as a practice. This will give your staff a sense of pride and ownership.
  5. Establish well defined expectations. Your staff will appreciate knowing where you stand on management issues and respond positively to your initiative.
  6. Show the Staff You Care. Find a way to do something for each staff member that show your genuinely care about them more than just giving them lip service. For example, offer some dental services to them or a family member.
  7. Abide by your own rules. There can be no double standards. Lead by example.
  8. Slowly adjust patient care. This gives both staff and patients time to develop trust in your capabilities.
  9. Make it about more than just money. Staff and patients alike will sense if you are only in it for the money.
  10. Keep your debt to yourself. Do not saddle your staff with excess financial information. Keep your relationship centered on practice goals.
  11. Hold routine meetings. Meet frequently with your office manager and associates.
  12. Be neither a friend nor a tyrant. Find a middle ground between social acquaintance and despotic ruler. Your staff will appreciate your friendly but professional demeanor.

Demonstrating a genuine concern for the quality of care you provide your patients and establishing a professional, goal-oriented office environment will win your new staff’s approval.

Are you considering selling a dental practice or selling an orthodontic practice? We can help you sell your dental practice for the greatest possible profit. See our sellers steps for more information.

Terry D. Watson, DDS, and Frank Brown, JD, LLM, are with ADS Watson, Brown & Associates, a dental practice transition consulting and brokerage firm in Dallas, TX. They are members of American Dental Sales and can be reached on the Contact Page.

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