As a woman in dentistry, you face unique challenges and opportunities in your practice. We often juggle many responsibilities as wives, mothers, friends, colleagues, daughters, sisters, dentists, practice administrators, business owners, partners and associates. Do you look forward to every day with excitement about the new opportunities it might bring? Are all your team members happy and energized? So, how can you balance your juggling act on a daily basis? How can you make the biggest impact on your patients, practice, team and life?
When I meet and work with women in dentistry, they tell me that they struggle with two main issues:
- Balancing family, work, life and business responsibilities. As women, we often come home to our “second shift”.
- Being considered “just one of the girls” with your team and facing difficulties in making tough business decisions.
So, how can we “look like a girl, think like a man, act like a lady and work like a boss,” as the saying goes?
What do we need to do to manage these responsibilities without dropping the ball or stretching ourselves too thin? There are FOUR KEY TIPS to make a significant impact on your patients, practice, team and life.
- Patients: Women are natural caregivers, so tap into your natural strengths as a woman. We have a distinct advantage as women in dentistry, because most women make the healthcare decisions for their families. Appeal to women with your practice image and branding.
Look at your practice through your eyes as a woman and strategize with your team about how you can improve other women’s lives through the care you provide.
You must also become a master communicator. When you become a master of effective communication, this makes understanding and appreciating others less complex. It’s ironic that being a good communicator means that you are also a good listener! Good listening skills are paying attention to the other person’s tone and body language, and then acknowledging and summarizing what’s been said. When people and team members take the time to exchange information, misperceptions are less likely to occur. Misinterpretations are minimized and problems are circumvented when team members actively listen to each other. Building communication skills in the workplace can be challenging, but worth the effort.
Communication skills establish and promote positive human relations among your team, while building quality relationships with your patients. Thus, improving communication lines with patients will definitely increase your profitability through happier patients who refer others, while raising productivity among your team members.
- Practice: Get REAL about your practice and running a healthy business. Ask yourself, “How can we?” Ask yourself, “Where are you?” compared to, “Where you want to be?” Where are you struggling? If you are looking for ways to redistribute your workload and responsibilities, you could partner with and share responsibilities with another like-minded dentist. This could also include setting your office hours around your life, for example seeing patients from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. so you can be home with your family in the afternoons and plan for dinner, homework and other responsibilities. Most women in dentistry can see patients three days per week and be very productive and efficient.
- Team: Empowered women on a team are UNSTOPPABLE! Look for ways to delegate to them and empower them. Strategize with your team how you can continually learn and grow together for the benefit of your patients. You may also need to identify issues with your team members and determine how to best turn them around. Sometimes, you need to clear the channels of communication with your team to move forward in the right direction.
Have an expert team of advisors to support your vision for your practice and life. Some of these may include your spouse/significant other, a nanny/personal assistant/housekeeper, a practice management consultant/coach, a CPA focused on dentists (I highly recommend the ADCPA- Academy of Dental CPAs), attorney, personal banker, dental sales representative for dental supplies and equipment, a dental lab, or your specialists/colleagues. The advisors on your team can help you reach your personal and professional goals while maintaining your ideal work-life balance.
We must also stay focused on the positive. How can you persuade the team’s thinking to be on track with your goals? Do all of your team members have clearly defined job responsibilities and accountability? Is it worth it to get rid of the “one bad apple” to ensure the team remains on course? Do your team members know the guidelines for what is being asked of them? What projects need to be prioritized?
- Life: Work hard and PLAY HARD! Take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. This will give you a sense of personal and professional satisfaction when you take time to enjoy your life!
Take some “me time” to think, dream, rejuvenate, strategize, and plan. As women, we are natural nurturers and it’s easy to put ourselves at the bottom of our priority list. So, we must remind ourselves that we are far more productive and efficient when we are well rested and NOT exhausted! Do you feel like your life is out of balance or well balanced? Are you burned out, or are you on fire?
The good news about being a woman in dentistry is that it affords us unique opportunities to help our patients be healthier, have a practice that is a healthy business, have a happy and productive team, and live a balanced life. My hope is that you start to look forward to every day with excitement about the new things it may bring. Our finest moments occur when we tap into our inner strength and shine by balancing our juggling act!
Dr. Tanya Brown founded and actively practices at The Center for Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry in Chesapeake, Virginia. She works with dentists & dental teams who want to “Connect the Dots” to be more focused, more productive, and have more fun!
Contact Tanya for a COMPLIMENTARY copy of the New Patient Call form to help your administrative team start building a relationship of trust from the first phone call.
She can be reached at Tanya@TanyaBrownDMD.com or 757-285-2833.