Keeping Your Team Together During COVID-19

  • by Don Deems, DDS, FAGD, PCC
  • Apr 13, 2020
In mid-February, I was excited about what a great and fun year this was going to be for my practice and my team. Then, in March, a new uncertainty began to unfold. At first, I denied it, ignored it and even made fun of it. Maybe you did, too.

Just like yours may be, my dental practice is shut down. My days have mostly been spent gathering relevant information from a wide variety of sources; communicating with the experts on whom I rely to run my practice; planning next steps; communicating with my team, my patients and my clients; and trying to sleep, eat healthfully, rest and exercise — then get up the next day and do it all over again.

How can you communicate with, manage and be available for your team and patients when you can’t be in the office? What aspects of practice management should you maintain? What can you do to preserve your own well-being?

Because significant uncertainty is working its way into everyone’s lives, you may have found yourself or others acting and responding differently than normal. Maybe you find yourself looking for ways to escape, knowing that you really can’t and that no one can possibly wrap their heads around what is happening. 

One thing to keep in mind is this: You are not alone.

Leadership during times of crisis is something almost no one is prepared to handle, but we can learn from leaders who have dealt with crises much larger than we have ever faced. Tell yourself that you are doing the right thing; though you may wish you could do more, the unique aspects of this crisis limit our abilities. Share with your team and your patients the information you learn from reliable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Labor, AGD, American Dental Association and state dental associations. Then, stay connected with your team via Zoom, Facetime, conference calling, etc. Reach out to your patients by letting them know what’s going on in your practice, asking how you can help them and promising to stay in touch. They will deeply appreciate it.

When you meet with your team, do these three things:
1. Be honest.
2. Be vulnerable.
3. Share whatever information you have currently. If possible, call each team member daily to check in with them.

As a certified professional coach who is accustomed to helping my clients navigate tough issues, I know all too well what happens when our world gets turned upside down. To that end, professional coaches are available to help you. I am personally offering free sessions to any dentist who needs to talk to someone — and that includes you. 

For now, continue to do the things that keep you healthy in all ways, not just to avoid becoming ill with the coronavirus. Talk things over, and avoid isolating yourself emotionally. Share your feelings, concerns and fears with the people in your life. Get expert advice from people on whom you have relied. Taking care of yourself and developing a plan of action each day will help keep you focused and positive. 

Don Deems, DDS, FAGD, PCC, known as The Dentist’s Coach®, is a practicing dentist of 33 years and a professional coach to dentists for 20 years. You can reach him through his website.