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Chicago Midwinter Meeting: 4 Steps to Transforming Toxic Dental Practice Employees

Speaker Judy Kay Mausolf equipped those gathered for her continuing education session on Thursday, Feb. 23 at the Chicago Midwinter Meeting with skills they can use to fix the problem employees in their dental practices. The key, Mausolf explained, is putting in the time and effort to tame the drama queens. Often, that’s as simple as setting and maintaining standards.
Darcy Lewis
PUBLISHED: Thursday, February 23, 2017

Is this how your front desk has been handling patient calls? Maybe it's time for a heart-to-heart with some of your problematic employees. According to Judy Kay Mausolf, changing problem employees is about establishing and sticking to behavior standards. That was part of her message during her continuing education session at the Chicago Midwinter Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Dental practices, like any other business, can have their share of discontented, toxic employees who make coming to work feel like drudgery.
 
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But if you think you don’t have the time or knowledge to tame your drama queen employees, nothing could be further from the truth. Not only is it your responsibility, you have more resources to help turn around team morale than you might expect.
 
That’s the message Judy Kay Mausolf gave to attendees at her Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting session on Thursday, Feb. 23. Mausolf, a popular speaker and dental practice consultant, runs Practice Solutions, Inc. in Lakeville, Minnesota.
 
The dynamics of each practice may be unique, but employee problems often stem from a common root.
 
“Usually the dentist hasn’t set clear standards as the practice grows, especially when problem employees have good technical skills or are good with patients,” Mausolf told Dentist’s Money Digest in a separate interview. “Dentists may be reluctant to address problems or may not realize how damaging it is to allow employees to treat patients better than their coworkers.”
 
According to Mausolf, dentists often experience an “aha” moment: “If toxic behavior is no longer allowed, it will stop,” she said.
 
But, she cautioned, change requires that the entire team decide as a group what their work culture should be like.
 
To her, the basis of change comes down to two key questions dentist and staff must ask themselves: What is foundation of the practice? And what behaviors support that foundation?
 
Mausolf offered several pointers to help dentists create a more caring atmosphere at work.
 
1. Cultivate Positive Energy.
 
For Mausolf, infusing the team with positive energy is an essential part of improving workplace culture. That’s why the acronym “Optimistic Radiant Attitudes Nurture Great Energy” (ORANGE) encapsulates her message. “The color orange creates a feeling of happy, positive energy,” she said. “That’s exactly what happens once you start putting positive energy into the world: you get it back and then some.”
 
According to Mausolf, your focus creates your attitude: “Focus on the positive and you will be positive.”
 
It’s too easy to define our day by the negatives, Mausolf said. She encourages her clients to instead look for three positives in every situation: “If you find a reason to feel good, you’ll feel good.”
 
Story continues on the next page.


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