As you carryout preparations for your return to dentistry, i.e. manage your checklist, order your PPE, master donning and doffing technique, etc., don’t lose sight of your team. Anticipating and addressing the needs of your team members and positively leading them through change will make for a smoother transition back to business.

As leaders, it is critical that we empathize with team members especially in times of uncertainty. It is also important that we acknowledge their unique abilities and maximize their strengths to come back strong and supported. One way to leverage your team’s contribution is according to their (DISC) personality styles. The following are challenges that each style is likely experiencing along with solutions for each to be proactive throughout the transition to the “new norm.”

“D” style (determined, direct, decisive, confident, productive, efficient)

  • COVID Challenge: Vulnerability from feeling out of control; lack of future uncertainty
  • Proactive Solution: Complete tasks that result in immediate gratification i.e. decluttering, cleaning, and organizing; lead (new) projects such as touchless patient screening process; give direction on post-COVID protocols


“I” style (enthusiastic, spontaneous, outgoing, friendly, talkative, open)

  • COVID Challenge: Government and societal expectations limiting freedom; social distancing restraints; limited ability to experience body language; FOMO (fear of missing out/being left out) due to isolation
  • Proactive Solution: Manage social media for the practice; create patient videos for the website; organize a ZOOM meeting or social; create positive ‘welcome back’ messaging for patient return; organize signage (or an event) to celebrate re-open


“S” style (easygoing, predictable, agreeable, willing, patient)

  • COVID Challenge: Sudden and continuous change with no preparation; current and future unpredictability; resentment from keeping things bottled up to avoid conflict
  • Proactive Solution: Reach out to reassure patients about a safe return to the office; answer questions/concerns; respond to patient surveys; engage the practice in community involvement


“C” style (analytical, cautious, curious, restrained, precise)

  • COVID Challenge: Lack of consistent facts and changing information to allow for making accurate decisions; assumptions, speculation and inconsistent messages
  • Proactive Solution: Keep current on updates as they happen; source/research potential purchases; create cleaning logs and tracking systems; develop plan and process for new protocols; organize necessary training


Use the following chart resource to review with your team!