From Harmful Conflict to Healthy Debate

From Harmful Conflict to Healthy Debate

When it comes to getting together with people, whether it’s in a social setting or at a business meeting, one of the topics we’re taught to avoid is politics. However in our new political climate and 24-hour news cycle, politics permeates our society. Every day, all day, cable TV news shows feature panels with members of both political parties going back and forth about how they each want things to be and claiming they are right and the other party is wrong. Maybe avoiding political talk isn’t the answer, but rather it’s learning how to have a civil conversation about a difficult topic.

What does this have to do with dental practices? At one time or another, most offices have conflict among team members. Kim thinks that Sara isn’t pulling her weight. Natalie asserts that Mark doesn’t do his job properly. Or, some staff members complain about Nicole’s attitude. Instead of concentrating on helping the practice reach its goals, dental teams can very easily get caught up in the same kind of “I’m always right” mindset as those political pundits on TV.

When conflict arises in a dental office it’s important for the dentist, as the practice leader, to resolve it quickly. If team members have conflicting ideas about how to serve patients better… improve the practice… increase production… dentists should channel this into a civil, healthy debate that will lead to genuine progress. Another way to participate in effective civil discourse is to connect with a business-focused study club. These clubs foster healthy discussion on practice challenges among a network of dentists who can offer solutions based on their own experience. As with many politicians, your competitive instincts may stoke fears that sharing information with other dentists may in some way conflict with your interests. Resist this thinking. When dentists come together to share information and address real-time challenges and solutions, there is always progress for all parties involved.

Now, if only the politicians could figure this out!