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Jul 26

The Pride Conundrum

My grandmother was fond of an old quote that said “pride comes before a fall.” She used it often and I really don’t think I ever gave it much thought back then. Recently however, I’m seeing over and over again, how misplaced pride (and fear of looking less that knowledgeable), can really hurt a practice. This generally comes in the form of not asking enough questions, or the well-known and overused “I already know that.”


While we can all be proud of our skills and accomplishments, we need to avoid the kind of false pride that keeps us from asking questions. This is especially true when we don’t know the correct answer for a patient or how to complete the task in front of us. Both of these situations have the potential to make the practice look bad and to make the staff seem poorly trained. I’ve seen his sort of harmful pride come from two sources, and we will discuss both, and how we can correct them.


  • The first source is one we’ve all seen ……the know it all employee. This is the person who never asks for guidance, and when coached says “I already know that” even when it’s painfully obvious they don’t. This is a major coaching issue that requires the coach to be as brash as the employee. When this type of employee starts to tell me they already know what I’m about to help them with, I stop, look them square in the face and say “no, you don’t, because if you did, you wouldn’t continually be making the same mistakes”. I then ask them to go through the process that they supposedly know for me. Then I can show them how to do it correctly. There’s no doubt this is a very “tough love “approach, but some of these folks have rarely, if ever, encountered this before…… and it does work.


  • The less obvious cause of this false bravado is an unhealthy office environment where staff members don’t feel comfortable asking questions. If every time I ask how to do something, I get a snippy or sarcastic response regarding my competence from the office manager or doctor, I will very soon stop asking and just “wing it.” The patients may not be getting the right answers and my job may not be getting done correctly, but I will save myself embarrassment and upset. This sort of reaction is just basic human nature when faced with an uncomfortable set of options…..we take the least painful path. The solution here is obvious. Every office needs to foster an environment where questions can be asked comfortably and training can be requested without making a staff member feel demeaned for asking.


Stopping these types of false pride responses will create a stronger team, better service to the patients and a more knowledgeable staff. Who doesn’t want that in their office?!






As dental practice management consultants, Mosaic Management Professionals, Inc. teachs you what the numbers mean for your success; shows you the opportunities that exist in your practice and helps you become someone who can attain the dream of personal and professional satisfaction. Let us help you handle the day to day and month to month details of your practice while we provide the training and support that will put all the pieces together into a beautifully aligned “Mosaic” that depicts your practice. Our initial consultation is always complementary and we maintain flexible hours to suit the needs of our clients.

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