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Developing a relationship with a new dental team

Post date: 07/09/2014 | Time to read article: 3 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 14/11/2018

Dating websites have been increasing in quantity and popularity. Magazines post articles on every second page about making first impressions, how to dress, how to speak. This all points to one fact: it’s hard work meeting new people. It’s an important occasion meeting potential partners you might live with for the rest of your life.


But what about finding those you may choose to work with for the rest of your life?

There is an unfortunate truth in that we sometimes spend more time with our work colleagues than with our friends and family. Hence, it could benefit you and others to put a deal of thought and process into developing a relationship with those strangers at work. These next five points are my personal guidelines to working successfully with a new team, which will help create a good relationship and a happy working environment. I hope you find them useful.

1) Start by learning about your new team. Try not to criticise and change everything about your new team from the start. The same way you wouldn't criticise the way your date dresses or rearrange his/her furniture on your first encounter. Have some patience and give your new team a few weeks to show you their true colours. The more you understand about your team, the more smoothly and efficiently you will be able to work with them.

2) Be open-minded. After a few weeks, you should be getting a feel for your team. Here, you could start offering suggestions and proposals to suit your working style. However, don't be too stubborn or obstinate. There may be certain things on which you cannot bend. That's an inevitable part of maintaining standards of treatment and professional integrity. But also remember to listen to your new team and don't be afraid to concede or compromise. You'll generally find that they'll be flexible with you, if you're flexible with them. Being open minded at the right times can make or break your relationship with your staff.

3) Communication. Communication is important in any relationship, and it's no different inthe workplace. Good communication can increase productivity and efficiency within the team. But, it's also a critical part of building a relationship with your new team and then maintaining it. Good communication doesn't mean complaining about everything. The quality of the communication is much more important than the quantity. Keep it professional. Be genuine. Don't be afraid to give compliments.


4) Forgive. As dentists, we're always going to be in a leadership position. Even if you're not the owner of the practice, the support staff will work around you and you'll have to direct them. If mistakes are made, be ready to forgive. One of the worst ways to lose the respect of your staff is to overreact to small issues. One of the best ways to gain respect is to be able to move past the little things. There will be situations where you may have to reproach a member of the team, but make sure it's worth it. Don't get angry in the heat of the moment. Take a step back, reassess. Once your heart rate settles, you might find that it's not a big deal. If you still think it's worth the reprimand, then proceed with professionalism. By following this tip, your words will attain significant value and your fellow staff will become more receptive to you.

5) Respect. This ties all of the above points together. Respect is probably the most difficult, complex and valuable virtue to share with a new team. My belief is that it's earned through a number of channels and built over a period of time. Despite the difficulty in achieving it, mutual respect between yourself and the team is a true asset. I'll summarise this vast and multifaceted topic with what I believe to be the simplest approach and a good starting point: Give and it will be given to you. It's difficult not to reciprocate when someone treats you with courtesy and respect. If you can start to build mutual appreciation early on, it will build a good foundation to developing a solid relationship with your new team.

Dentistry can be a profession in which you can work with your head down and keep to yourself. However, I've always found that having a good relationship with my work colleagues creates a happier work environment and decreases stress levels. It's well worth the time and effort to build and maintain good relationships with fellow dentists and support staff.

I am a young dentist and I am unable to speak from a wealth of experience. My work relationships have been helped by the calibre ofmy colleagues. But, these are the points I have found useful when moving to a new practice or hiring new staff. I hope you can take what you need from my experience, and I hope it assists you with fitting in with your new team.

Kang Kim

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