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Feuding Hygienists


Dear Sharyn

We have two excellent hygienists –well actually– we now have one excellent hygienist. Hygienist “A” has been with us for over 20 years and is skilled and loved by her patients. Unfortunately, she is also very insecure so we all tiptoe around giving her any kind of feedback or suggestions because she will tell us she’s “already doing that.”

But the biggest problem is she is competitive with every hygienist we hire and does things that undermine them. It got so bad that our other hygienist resigned which means we now have to hire someone else. Other hygienists have left us for similar reasons. I’m concerned that “A” will drive the next hygienist crazy too. How do I prevent this from happening again?

J.S., N Carolina

Dear J.S.,

Employees have 3 components to their job description.  They should be evaluated and rewarded based on well they do their own job, how they interact as a team member and how they help the practice grow as a business.

Although “A” may be a great clinician, she is not a great team member and she has negatively impacted the practice’s financial and clinical success. The conversation you have with her has to address this.

“A” we value you as a vital, long-term employee at this practice and we want you to continue to grow with us. We do need you to make changes in how you relate to and communicate with the rest of the team- especially the new hygienist we’ll be hiring. We expect you to collaborate with, support and welcome this new team member. 

 I’d like to see you extend the same patience and compassion you demonstrate with your patients to this new employee. This is so crucial that we will be asking the new employee to give us continual feedback about her relationship and communication with you. We want her to say that she feels supported by you. If she indicates at any time that this is not the case, then we are going to have a documented conversation about your performance.”

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Inspired Us to Dream Bigger, and it Works

“As an Office Manager, I’ve seen a great difference in my practice since starting with Sharyn. Three years ago our staff was in turmoil with a lot of infighting and gossip and some jealousy directed towards me.

I had given up because everything I did was judged. Now I have learned to have more one-to-one communication and by being more vulnerable with individuals I found my leadership voice. As a team, we’re all focused on the same goals.

Last year, in August we produced $88,000. This year we’re on track to produce $111,000 this month. I know it’s because we learned how to follow through with patients and communicate our expectations while building our systems.

Sharyn has gotten us out of our comfort zone and inspired us to dream bigger and it works.”

–Sharon St Pierre, Sperbeck Dental Care

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