Choosing the “right person” isn’t only about qualifications. That’s why we conduct job interviews – to get a sense of what a person is like. Some people are naturally outgoing and enthusiastic. Others are more measured in their approach to human contact. Yet both people might share the same basic qualifications in terms of schooling, experience, etc. Therefore, the “right person” has more to do with character traits and innate capabilities than with specific knowledge, background, or skills.

 

So, how do you choose the right person for a specific role in your practice? More importantly, how do you make sure the people already on your team are maximizing their potential?

 

First, take time to define the characteristics of what constitutes the ideal candidate within the context of your environment and team. Think about the role’s specific duties, as well as the relationship and communication skills you want and what attitude is necessary to thrive. You can even try to anticipate what a role will require by imagining yourself in a particular job.

 

When interviewing candidates – or changing the roles of your existing team member – look closely at attitude, as it is the most challenging to change. How they feel about achievement and ethical issues are at least as important as their educational status, salary expectations, past mistakes, appearances, and skill level.

 

And are they communicating effectively? It will make or break a dental team. It is the leader’s responsibility to be clear about specific expectations. For instance, do all of your team members have defined job descriptions? If not, change that by creating detailed descriptions that include specific responsibilities attached to that role and the outcomes you expect. Also, is there goal setting and regular written feedback for your team’s performance? This is critical because it clarifies exactly what needs to be done, and allows team members to focus in on exactly what can be improved.

 

All of these things will set a team member up to succeed. Focusing on a specific area of expertise makes the transformation from “we all do it” to “I am accountable for this task.” Clearly defined roles based on the individual members’ values and strengths create ownership of a shared vision of where the practice is going and why it is going there.

 

When people feel connected to a mission, they will then put forth the effort to walk the stepping stones for getting there and achieving success. The desire for success is an ongoing quest, not some remote destination to be reached someday. It does not matter what your goals are, (money, love, power, fame, etc.) because when you achieve your goals, you experience success.

 

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