Here’s the bad news.
You can’t make your staff do what you want. You’ve probably heard the old phrase, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”.
The same thing applies to people – whether they’re your staff, your partner or your kids. You can’t make people do what you want them to do.
I mean, you can try the old “It’s my way or the highway” routine, but you know where that will lead, don’t you?
It will lead to staff who put up and shut up long enough to find a new job – and they’ll leave you in the lurch if they can.
You won’t work in a fun, relaxed environment. And guess what?
Your patients will pick up on that. They’ll also notice your staff turnover, and that always leads to patient turnover as well.
So you can’t make staff do what you want. But that’s not the end of the story.
Because that’s not really what you want. You don’t want to force people to do your bidding. Not really.
What you want is for your staff to want help you. You want them on your side, promoting your business, and cheering for your success.
You want them to be your supporters, so they’re keen to help out and do their best.
And there are some relatively simple ways to achieve that.
Build Strong Relationships
If you have strong relationships with each member of your team, you’ll be able to bring out their best.
Think about it. You’re more likely to go out of your way to help people you know and care about, aren’t you? The same goes for your team.
So make the effort to get to know each of your team members personally and develop strong relationships with them. This increases loyalty and fosters a sense of belonging.
It takes a little time to develop strong relationships, but it’s an investment worth making because it pays dividends. It reduces staff turnover and increases patient retention.
Read Your Team
When you know your staff well you’ll be able to ‘read’ them. You’ll know their strengths and weaknesses, and you’ll know what motivates them.
You’ll understand who needs more support and guidance, and who can be given brief direction. No one likes to feel as though they’re being micro-managed, but nor do they like to feel as though they have no support at all.
As a leader, you need to navigate these murky waters. You need to understand which staff require close monitoring, and which don’t.
Some of us need more assistance when we’re learning new things, or stretching our boundaries, but some don’t. Just as a parent knows their own child, you need to know your team.
It’s up to you to recognise how much support each person needs, and when they need it. But, if you’re ever in doubt it never hurts to ask!
Ask, Don’t Tell
This seems obvious but asking someone to do something is very different from telling them to do it. When we’re in the heat of the moment we can forget how we’re interacting with people, so it’s worth checking with yourself.
How often do you ask your team members for help, rather than telling them what to do? How often do you thank them for their effort?
If you want to foster respect from your team you need to show them the same respect. We teach other people how to interact with us every day – in the way we interact with them.
Think about it.
When someone is friendly and light-hearted, we tend to be that way too. But if someone is grumpy and demanding, it brings out those traits in us as well.
So be courteous and considerate with your team, and they’re more likely to show you the same consideration.
Aim For Outcomes
Do you find yourself having lengthy discussions about how things should be done? Well, not every staff member needs that – some do, but some don’t.
This is why you need strong relationships with your team, and why you need to read them, and know the support they need.
If you have team members who are independent, conscientious and capable try saying, “Here’s the outcome I want”. Then tell them the result you need them to aim for, rather than focusing on how they can achieve that result.
This is a great strategy that I use often, but it comes with a warning. You need to know the person well before using it.
This is not something I’d use with a new person who was still getting used to their role, and it’s not applicable to everyone. Some people need more direction than others, so use it wisely.
I know you’re smart and you don’t want to set people up for failure. So use this strategy with people who are competent, and have the knowledge to step up to the challenge.
Author and former CEO Todd Patkin outlines 14 phrases that will boost morale, in his book Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and–Finally–Let the Sunshine In.
Here are a few of the that you can start using today.
How to Get Staff to Do What You Ask
Instead of making people do what you want, inspire them to do what you ask.
Foster your relationship with your team and get to know them well.
Know who needs close instruction, and who can be left to deliver an outcome. You’ll get much better results from your team.
As Sam Walton said:
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”
Support your team, inspire your team, and believe in your team.
Do this, and they’ll follow you to the ends of the earth.
And you won’t even have to ask.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready …. here are 4 ways I can help you grow your dental practice:
- Grab a free chapter from my book “Retention – How to Plug the #1 Profit Leak in Your Dental Practice”
The book is the definitive guide to patient retention and how to use internal marketing to grow your practice – Click Here
- Join the Savvy Dentist community and connect with dentists who are scaling their practice too
It’s our Facebook group where clever dentists learn to become commercially smart so that they have more patients, more profit and less stress. – Click Here
- Attend a Practice Max Intensive live event
Our 2 day immersive events provide access to the latest entrepreneurial thinking and actionable strategies to drive your practice forward. You’ll leave with a game plan to take your results to the next level. If you’d like to join us, just send me a message with the word “Event and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here
- Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your profit from 6 figures to 7 figures …. just send me a message with the word “Private”… tell me a little about your practice and what you would like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here