Stop waiting for something to change

A local dentist that is a good friend of mine had two people working his front desk. They were nice to patients and made you feel good when you walked in. But they had an attitude with the dentist and with the assistants in the back.  The rest of the staff was starting to notice a divide happening between the two front desk girls and everyone else in the office. The staff is looking to him for answers.

He is kind of frozen in place. He doesn’t know what to do. He can’t face letting one person go, let alone 2. He hates confrontation and just wants everyone to be happy and get along and do their jobs.  Besides, if he let them go, would it ruin the practice culture? Would he lose all of his patients?

The rule is; If the employee is not fully trained in their responsibilities then they need to be trained. No one can expect an employee to just know what to do, they must be fully trained. If the employee is fully trained and simply won’t follow orders or perform the tasks as they have been trained, meet with them and explain what is expected, explain what will happen if they continue performing poorly, make it clear that this has been noted in their file. You should strictly follow your HR department guidelines. Every state is a little different so make sure you know your state rules and laws. If the employee is still causing problems and not holding up their responsibilities the problem is probably not training, it is attitude. An employer can not fix a bad attitude and that person should be let go.

Now back to our dentist and his two problem employees. He just wants to let things work themselves out. He hopes they will just get better. Maybe the staff will find ways to work with them. But as time passes he can see them getting worse. They even treat him, their boss, poorly. He can tell it is affecting the whole staff and sometimes he is sure that patients pick up on it also. He may be losing patients because of these employees. He is losing production for sure. In fact, He doesn’t even like to come to work anymore, and he heard a rumour that one of his hygienists is looking for another job.

Now for the pearl of this story. He needed to fire those two as soon as he recognized a problem. Why? He would have saved tons of frustration, money, and he would have gained the respect of his staff for his ability to be a leader.

Confrontation is the key. Even if his personality avoids confrontation, there are times he just needs to step up and do it. There is really no shortcut. With the employee mess or with patients, the longer he puts it off, the more money it costs, the more respect he loses from staff and patients. The faster he acts, the more respect he gains and the more cash he makes. The sooner he confronts the higher the payoff.


Scott Emett