The “self-managed team” is essentially a philosophy based on shared values, trust, and unity of purpose, relationships, and a commitment to personal and professional growth. It begins, first and foremost, by hiring the right people and teaching the aptitude.
Self-management offers freedom and responsibility. It gives each person credibility and respect, and it satisfies the need for self-fulfillment. The prime responsibility of the doctor is to help team members discover, develop, and utilize their potential. In order for team members to grow requires the dentist must be willing to grow with them.
- It requires team members who want to grow beyond skilled worker to ‘knowledge worker’ who knows what to do, when to do, how to do, and why to do the task.
- It thrives on trust and self-accountability which requires honesty with one’s self. It requires a high tolerance for disagreement and ‘the right to be wrong.’
- It thrives on a high tolerance for mistakes which permits calculated risk taking. It requires that all members of the team strive to live by the tenet, ‘Integrity is not only important; it is everything.’
- It requires continuous growth of all persons involved.
- It requires the discipline to set aside a half day
each week of non-patient work time for planning, learning, training, ‘how are we doing’ discussions and catch-up work.
- It requires trust, openness, and willingness to risk asking the questions; “How am I doing?” “Do you have any suggestions for me?”
- Emotional Maturity
- Courage of convictions – be responsible.
- Admit mistakes –be accountable, honest, have integrity and keep promises.
- Willing to adjust to new ideas, concepts, and approaches in the daily routine.
- Ability to make decisions with confidence.
- Reliable judgment.
- Enjoy life and work. Respect the rights of others.
- Self-directed – goal setter and self-starter.
- Positive self-image – sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment.
- Tolerant of disagreement – everyone has the right to be wrong.
- Tolerance for ambiguity – they are flexible and not upset by unforeseen mishaps.
It is important that the attitudes, actions and activities of everyone in the office are congruent with the values, purpose and motivating spirit of the organization. Ultimately each dental team must develop its own unique style. The dentist and team must deal with their values, standards of excellence and the personal relationships required to exceed the patient’s expectations. We must continually work to align structure, systems, and processes with our shared values, vision and purpose. Shared values determine how people perceive problems, seek alternative solutions, and make decisions.
- No dream is beyond reach when you have a shared vision and
purpose with the right team.
- Leaders must be willing to delegate power and control after clear goals, standards of excellence and expectations have been
established. Conflicting or ambiguous expectations are the cause of almost all relationship difficulties.
- Everyone’s job, including the leader’s, must be open to examination and change.
- All team members must be encouraged to make suggestions and be given real authority to act, to try things on the spot in the belief that failures are learning experiences.
- Everyone must have easy access to all the information relevant to their work.
- Everyone’s job security depends on their ability to provide solutions that exceed the patient’s expectation.
- Teamwork must become a way of life. People working interdependently do not need job descriptions. Self-managed people with a
feeling of ownership work best knowing everyone’s area of responsibility. There are no departmental boundaries.
- Everyone must make a commitment to personal and professional growth. Continuing education is not optional.
M. William Lockard, Jr. DDS
of Team Membership
- Always be willing to do more than your
share. A person with a high commitment to the success
of the team and practice will look for ways to contribute to the success of the
group to achieve the shared vision and purpose of the practice.
- Never say uncomplimentary things about
another team member behind their back. Engage in positive confrontation of the
- Confront your conflicts. Resolved conflicts strengthen
relationships. Unresolved conflicts do not go away, they accumulate and get
- Accept reality – all team members are
not paid the same salary.
All do not have the same education, experience, duties, responsibilities,
abilities, attitudes and dependability.
- Never be late or absent for trivial
reasons. One person absent can affect the quality of
care, the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire office.
- Participate in team activities even
Electing not to participate may be seen as rejection by teammates. The more you
know about someone, the greater likelihood that you will care for them.
- Be involved, concerned and active
regarding your personal growth. As a group of individuals who work
together become cohesive, caring and synergistic they are experiencing personal
unselfish with your time and helping others.
empathetic with patients and team members.
conflict with a positive attitude – see other point of view.
yourself and others – strengths and weakness – it’s OK to not be perfect.
to others more than you talk.
- Be a
responsibility and be accountable for your actions.
to personal growth of teammates when appropriate. Help is not help until it
is perceived and accepted as help by the recipient. The ideal relationship is
to have a friend who can act as a consultant where the level of trust,
understanding and caring is high enough so we can tell it like it is.
- M. William
Lockard, Jr. DDS www.billlockarddds.com
- SELF ASSESSMENT
all the questions and discuss in round robin fashion with other team members.
- List two valuable
abilities or qualities that you possess but are currently not using.
- What is your
ideal picture of your job and your role in this team? How would your unused
abilities fit into this ideal picture?
- What positive
contributions could you make to this team and practice by actualizing some
aspects of your ideal picture of your job?
- What aspects of
your ideal picture of your job can you turn into reality? What specific steps
can you take? What are the obstacles to take these steps?
- How can your team
members help you use your strengths and actualize your ideal
each team member answers all the questions the team works to take advantage of
each person’s strengths. This begins the process of working interdependently
and sharing responsibilities.
- M William Lockard, JR DDS
- Teams with
- Admit mistakes, weaknesses, and ask
- Accept questions and input about
their areas of responsibility
- Give one another the benefit of the
doubt before a negative conclusion
- Take risks in offering feedback and
- Focus time and energy on important
issues, not politics
- Offer and accept apologies without
- Look forward to meetings and other
opportunities to work as a group
- Look forward to meetings and other
- Teams that engage in conflict:
- Have lively, productive meetings
debating important issues
- Ideas and opinions of all team
members are encouraged and considered
- Discuss and resolve real problems
- Minimize politics
- Put critical topics on the table for
- Teams that make commitments:
- Create clarity around direction and
- Align the entire team around common
- Develop an ability to learn from
- Unite behind decisions and commit to
a clear course of action even when
- complete agreement is impossible
- Move forward and change direction
with confidence without hesitation
- Teams that hold one another
- Ensure that poor performers feel
pressure to improve
- Identify potential problems quickly
by questioning one another’s approaches
- without hesitation
- Clarify exactly what the team needs
to achieve, who needs to deliver what, and how
- everyone must behave to succeed
- Avoid excessive bureaucracy around
performance management and corrective action
- Shift rewards from individual
performance to team achievement, there-by creating
- a culture of accountability
- Teams that focus on collective
- Retain achievement-oriented employees
- Down play individual achievement in
favor of team performance
- Enjoy success and suffer failure
- Benefit from individuals who
subjugate their own goals/interests for the good of the team
on specific objectives, clearly defined outcomes and deadlines
Dynamic Job Design and Performance
- Clarification of expectations for each team member’s function,
responsibility, and performance.
- Each team member writes:
list of their job functions and responsibilities.
of excellence expected in detail.
writes list for each team member:
functions and responsibilities.
of excellence expected.
of job performance.
- Doctor meets with each team member to review and
responsibilities, standard of excellence and performance.
explains in detail any changes or improvement required.
composite evaluation and action plan with time table is agreed upon.
that some departments in the practice may be at different stages of growth.
members must understand how their actions may affect other team members and
how each team member contributes to achieving the purpose and goals of the
- M. William Lockard, Jr. DDS www.billlockarddds.com
- When tensions are high and we seem to have lost our
positive attitude, I will sit with all the team members and ask these
questions. It is a positive way to get back on track. And they feel in charge
of the “Happy days are here again.”
- Appreciative Inquiry Change at the
speed of Imagination
- Who are
you when you’re at your best?
- Think about a time when you were really engaged in
and excited about your work.
- Tell me a story about that time. What was
happening? What were you feeling?
- What made it a great moment?
- What were others doing that contributed to this
being a great moment for you?
- What did you contribute in creating this moment?
- What would need to happen for you to have moments
like that more of the time?
- When are we as a team at our very best?
- What are we doing at those times?
- How are we communicating?
- How are we treating each other and others outside
of our circle at those times?
- How can we be that way, and do those things more of
the time? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- If you had three wishes for our organization, what
would they be?
- ____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________
Philosophy ‘HOW’ Statement
- We will help people feel
important, cared for, accepted and affirmed by all the team.
- We will do only what is right
and put the patient’s interest first – sharing our values, beliefs and joy in
doing our WHY.
- We will treat people
appropriate to their need, their understanding of the optimum treatment and
their ability to pay a fair fee.
- We will accept people as they
are without passing judgment.
- We will help people make
decisions based on their values and priorities. People will not be pressured to
accept treatment; they must choose treatment.
- We will not provide treatment
that is inconsistent with our ethical standard.
- We will inform people about
fees prior to beginning treatment.
- We wish to receive a fair fee,
paid with gratitude and appreciation.
- When people experience economic
hardship we will understand and be cooperative.
- We wish to attract patients who
are fun and have values congruent with ours.
- Develop integrated goals and
know that if the practice does well financially, they will do well financially.
- Commit to the process of
- Grow in the process of
self-management, work interdependently, accept responsibility and be accountable
for their actions.
- Are encouraged to voice their
opinion and then commit to team decisions.
- Develop trusting relationships
and focus on collective results.
- Establish clear expectations of
each other and the doctor.
- Hold trust, honesty, integrity,
openness and respect as core values of this practice.
make this office an incredible place where we have fun helping people improve
the quality of their life.
William Lockard, Jr. DDS