Don’t Do These Things if You’re the Boss of a Dental Practice

Here at Dental Temps Professional Services we spend a lot of time discussing what you should do in a professional capacity. But today, I’m here to discuss what you shouldn’t do. 

The list below is from Lisa Newburger, LISWS and appears the DentistryIQ article “What NOT to do as a boss of a dental practice.” Newburger is a licensed social worker who is known for tacking difficult topics for dental practices with boldness and honesty. Her tips might seem like common sense, but remember: if someone had to write this list, there was likely a boss somewhere who was doing one or more of the following.

Five Tips a Boss Should Always Remember
  1. Do NOT try to be friends with your employees. Newburger writes that being a boss is like raising children. “You will never be one of us,” she writes. “Even if you were one of us and have been promoted, you are no longer part of our group. That is reality.” Bosses have subordinates, and they cannot be friends with people who report to them. There are times that managers have to deal with disciplinary issues, which is obviously unpleasant, but it becomes even worse for both you and your employee if you are friends.  
  2. Do NOT ask your employees on a date. As Newburger puts it, not only could this lead to an extremely uncomfortable situation, it could also open you up to harassment. “You will put everyone in a terrible position if you ask any of us out or give us any signals you’re interested in any of us,” she writes. “That doesn’t mean we want you to fire anyone. What it means is we don’t want to ruin our professional relationship!”
  3. Do NOT talk about your problems with your employees.  Newburger writes that even though a boss might think their employees might want to hear about office gossip from them, they’re wrong. “If you need to talk to someone, find a friend or a coach outside of the practice,” she writes. “We don’t need to know about coworkers’s issues or the financial problems going on in the practice.” It’s important that bosses protect their employees from unnecessary stress that they don’t need in their lives, and a way to do that is to keep gossip to themselves.
  4. Do NOT pretend your employees are deaf. Some bosses think that if they aren’t talking to staff members, their staff members aren’t listening. But she said that absolutely isn’t the case. “Close the door when you’re on the phone with your personal issues,” she writes. “All you’re doing is giving us something to gossip about, and we will! This takes away from our ability to respect you. You need our respect, but you have to earn it and act like a boss. If you don’t have our respect, this isn’t going to work.”
  5. Do NOT ignore us or treat us with disrespect. Your employees work hard for you, and they should get the same respect they give you. “Do not make us afraid to tell you about something important,” she writes. “Make time for us. The issues we bring to you are relevant either to us as team members or to the practice. Find out what the issues are so we can solve them and get back to business.”

Let’s get something clear real quick. I am in no way saying you can’t be friendly with your employees because who doesn’t like a friendly boss? But you can very easily blur or cross some of these lines without even realizing it. The key, I think, is this: When it doubt, keep it professional. 

Katie Devereaux

Katie Devereaux

Resume Coach and Blogger at Dental Temps Professional Services
Katie Devereaux is a writer and editor, who graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism. She has written for several publications in Florida, Alaska and Illinois.
Katie Devereaux

About Katie Devereaux

Katie Devereaux is a writer and editor, who graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism. She has written for several publications in Florida, Alaska and Illinois.