Over 30 years of practice and 17 years of coaching dentists and their teams, I rarely hear how much both the doctor and the team enjoy team meetings.
After all, most team meetings turn out to be “complaint sessions”, leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, so why would anyone want to do them?
Even more, as the leader, how enthusiastic are you? Your team is watching your every move – and your every mood. And, are you prepared for the meeting? Does everyone know what’s going to be discussed in advance?
Lots of people have written about having effective team meetings, but few dentists have implemented these strategies. How do I know? If you were in my shoes and asked team members how they like team meetings, most would only give them a lukewarm response.
Team Meetings Tips
Here are items you may not have thought about in terms of having team meetings that could really help you or maybe you’ve never seen before. After all, taking time out for team meetings should truly be some of the most important time you spend in the office – because it’s expensive time!
- Always have an agenda written out and dispensed to team members several days in advance. At least a week before, solicit all team members for items they feel should be on the agenda. Require feedback, if you must!
- Avoid allowing team meetings becoming “complaining sessions”. When any complaining starts, squash it quickly, but also don’t ignore the reasons for the complaints. You may need to table what is being talked about until moods change and even tempers subside so that there can be effective communication.
- Help your team learn effective conflict resolution strategies. Most every dental team I know HATES conflict, so they use a variety of ineffective strategies to handle the conflict. Does it work? No. So, if you don’t have good conflict resolution strategies, then learn them by reading a book or two, working with someone who can teach them to you, or bringing someone in to teach you and the team. This is something I get asked to do quite a lot … so don’t ignore that elephant in the room!
- Make your meetings as fun as possible with a variety of activities that will get each team member involved. If you are one to talk AT your team members most of the meeting, then you’re probably not very effective, and your team probably dreads every meeting. Learn the skills it takes to make meetings productive and interesting.
- From each team meeting, have a written plan and accountability set up for accomplishing what is agreed upon by the next team meeting. If possible, have someone take notes, get them typed, and have it given to you for review. Once you approve the notes, distribute them as quickly as possible – within only a few days of the meeting. Otherwise, people will forget just about everything you discussed and agreed upon. Even worse, time is going by until your next team meeting.