By Lisa Philp, RDH, President of Transitions Group North America 


Lisa Philp, RDH, President of Transitions Group North America

How well a dental team solves problems and handles conflict directly impacts patient-customer care, as well as the practice’s top financial line, bottom line and everything in between.

Unfortunately, our experience in dental coaching has shown that the majority of dental teams are struggling, dealing with unsolved problems. Their needs are not being met, there are co-worker dramas, patient complaints and overall lack of any tools/skills in regard to how to problem solve and face conflict.

Some foundational truths about problems and conflict, below, help set the stage to begin implementing solutions and permanent change in each practice:

  • Problems are a gift toward forward progress to achieving our goals and vision when solved efficiently.
  • Problems can be a curse if you let them. Ignored problems build anger and resentment. Denied problems breed apathy. Attacking people to solve problems causes emotional hurt and burnout.
  • Problems are the path to greatness. Even the most successful dental practices with satisfied employees working well and with effective leadership have problems to address and solve on a daily basis.
  • Conflict happens in human relations. Every person is unique with what they believe, value, think, see and feel. We all hold our own personalized “truth” of the way we see ourselves and others. Conflict is inevitable due to people’s differences and clashing of wills and opinions.
  • Conflict resolution fuels the fire and ignites the need for change to a collaborative team of leaders that  impacts measurable growth.
  • Be aware of your state of mind. What was going on when the problem arose? Context and timing of the situation can help determine if a problem really exists.   We all have good days and bad days that cause us to respond differently to the same things.

Don’t let problems be your crutch or block your path in achieving what you want and deserve.