How and When should you fire a dental employee?
Last week we discussed dental team conflict and how to work through it.  This week we take the topic to the next step: in the event you can’t resolve it, what do you do?  How do you balance between authority and leadership?  When should you use each?
We see some doctors that simply use authority to get things done in their practice or “Position Power”.  While this certainly is their right, I am a bigger fan of Leadership vs Authority.  What I mean by this, is just because of your position in the business, that doesn’t mean you should use that authority. If you lead by example, you will then have Earned Authority.  The amount of influence you have with Earned Authority is so much more that it is unbelievable.  We hear all the time from employees within offices that they “work hard” which is usually code for “I will work hard but don’t really respect my boss”.  Offices with this attitude often struggle with getting everyone to have an ownership attitude, and it is no wonder why this is the case.  The reason why the employees “work hard” is because they feel like they are working harder than their boss!!  If you get upset when your employees show up 5 minutes late, but you always show up 5 minutes late, I am pretty sure I know the source of your problems.  
By contrast, if you are always the first one in the practice and the last to leave, I bet your team works their butts off for you.  Within my company, there isn’t a task I haven’t done long before I ask my team to do it.  For one reason, I want to create the process and work through the pain of development so my team doesn’t have to.  I want to set them up for success rather than frustration.  Does your team feel this way about you?  If the answer is “NO”, we have some work to do.  The good news is this can be resolved, it will just require you doing some things differently.  
Now, back to the topic at hand. If you have a team member that might require the tough talk vs the velvet glove discussion, here is how I would suggest you do it.  I would sit down and respectfully explain that the behavior you don’t like is unacceptable.  I would document that you want to see this behavior changed in the next 30 days.  Then I would make it clear that if they decide not to change, they will be “Firing” themselves.  Then in 30 days when you re-evaluate, if they haven’t made the changes asked, it is now very simple.  They fired themselves.  All of this, of course, needs to be handled respectfully and carefully.  Termination of an employee is a big decision. You are putting someone in great financial risk, as most really need their paychecks to live by.  I take this topic very seriously, but I also take a person’s lack of ability to follow instructions to change their behavior, and the impact on the business, seriously as well.  
If you would like to discuss some particular circumstance within your practice, please contact Danielle to schedule a free consultation.

Darren Kaberna


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