A smooth-running business requires an empowered team. To have a practice that will be
independent and productive, it is necessary to give your staff the tools to succeed. In a new practice, it
often falls upon the dentist to do many jobs that would otherwise be delegated. Having been the chief
cook and bottle washer, it can be difficult to relinquish control and break this habit. Many employers
often fall into the trap, “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.” This mindset will lead to
micromanagement and much added stress. When beginning a practice, team members are limited. You
must start from the ground and build up. It takes time to grow a strong team that is needed to carry the
weight of these tasks. It is difficult to relinquish our responsibilities. However, once accomplished it is
extremely liberating. By delegating tasks, we develop a group of people that will step up and make
decisions on your behalf. I prefer team members that can make decisions on their own, rather than
ones who come to me constantly, even if it might not be the decision I would have made in every
The feeling of being powerless will cause some to look to others to cast blame, as well as a team
that produces just enough to not be terminated. Taking responsibility starts at the top. Whenever we
encounter a negative circumstance at our office, my first question is “As the leader, where did I fall
short?”. I must first look inwardly to see if I provided my team with the tools necessary to succeed.
Knowing for a fact that I have given my team the appropriate tools, only then do I begin to look at where
my team members may have gone astray. In most cases I have fallen short in some way, maybe I did
not give a clear budget for the project or stress how critical a task was to the overall impact of the office.
Taking a long and hard look at ourselves is difficult, but it is critical in moving forward efficiently. If the owner is unable to do this, the team will not look to themselves when there are shortcomings in the practice.