Tips for Holding Your Team Accountable

Employees tend to get nervous or uncomfortable upon hearing the word accountability because they think it involves providing excuses and assigning blame. The truth is that nothing would get done if no one took responsibility. But accountability means giving employees the tools to help them develop their skills so they can perform their jobs. Leaders are responsible for instilling a sense of accountability in their employees, but in reality, most of them don’t understand how they should do it.

Instilling a sense of accountability in your team won’t happen on its own – it is you who must take the necessary steps to build it. When employees fail to follow protocols and policies, you need to step in to deal with the situation. Here are a few great tips for making it happen.

1. Set Deadlines

When you assign a task to an employee, always give them a deadline. Regardless of when you need it, whether it’s tomorrow or in two weeks, you must provide a due date because tasks without deadlines are typically put on the bottom of the pile. So, always clearly communicate a deadline to ensure that the task will get done.

2. Set Standards

What are your dental practice’s goals? What sets you apart from other practices? What are your team member’s roles in achieving those goals? Making sure that everyone understands what your practice’s mission and standards are is the very first step in building an effective culture. Creating an optimal customer experience is at the core of any successful dental practice, so make sure they know what your expectations are.

3. Measure Performance

Asking an employee to communicate better cannot be measured. But if you ask the front desk employee to make sure that assistants and hygienists know when patients are waiting past their appointment time, that can be checked. Also, let your employees know how you will measure their tasks. Procedures that you can put in place to give them an idea of how you will track them will help instill a sense of accountability.

4. Create Trust through Communication

Employees who are struggling with a specific task should feel comfortable enough to ask you for help or direction. It often happens that people think asking for clarification will make them appear less skillful. And when they misunderstand instructions, it may lead to errors. So, make clear that your doors are always open for anyone who needs guidance and that you’ll be there to help.

5. Clarify the Results

You won’t get the desired results if your employees don’t understand your expectations, so be clear about all the tasks and results you want to see. Also, making mistakes is a natural part of every work environment. In case an employee makes a mistake, it’s due to poor guidance or inadequate training. Work with them to fix issues instead of reprimanding right away. Your dental employees should also feel safe to make a mistake from time to time.

6. Be Transparent about the Consequences

Completing work late or repeatedly making the same mistakes are issues that should result in discipline. Explain what kinds of problems you will discipline and what the consequences will be. The more transparent you are about the consequences, the more respect you’ll get from your employees.

When you manage to instill a sense of accountability in your dental team, all employees will know what you expect from them. They will work independently and together with confidence, alerting you only when they need your assistance. You will build an environment in which people can admit their mistakes without fear, speak about their vulnerabilities, and focus on taking care of patients instead of being better than their coworkers.

We hope these tips will help you create a team that you can rely on as well as create a better dental practice culture. As for us, Dental Specialties Institute, Inc. is one of the leading institutes in California that provides the best education for Dental Assistants.