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  • Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE

You Set the Tone

It all starts with you. Yes! I am talking to you! Everyone in a dental practice has an effect on the tone and how the team works together.

Let’s start with the doctors and practice owners when talking about setting the tone. Have you heard the phrase “If mama isn’t happy, nobody’s happy.”? The same is true in the dental office. The attitude and mood of your practice changes with you.

You are the leader and sometimes as leaders we forget that everyone is watching us. Setting an example is a hard thing to do all the time but it is important if you want to keep moving forward and having a cohesive team. If you are complaining about how your team is working (or not working) together, take a look inward and see if there is anything you can change. 

Team members, if things are down in your office, take the reins and start changing the tone in the practice. It is hard for others to complain and gossip to you if you do not accept that and turn it around in a positive light. Be that person for your office. You can be the leader that is needed.

There are several ways we can change the tone in the practice:

  • Be positive – seems easy, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it is not always that easy. If everyone is in a negative mindset, it is very easy to go there. It takes some work to keep the positivity. Give it a go. It will be worth it I promise!

  • Be a team player – be the example and help others when they need help. Ask your teammates what you can do at the end of the day so they can get out and go home. Teams get into the mindset of “she doesn’t help me, so I am not going to help her”. Let’s hit the reset button on that now and start fresh. 

  • Give compliments – you would be surprised by the change you will see in people when you give them a simple compliment. “Jane, you did a great job working with that little girl earlier.” When you notice people doing good things, they want to do that more often. What a great way to change the tone!

  • Say Thank You – we all like to feel appreciated, don’t we? A simple “Thank you” goes a long way. It shows you noticed and appreciated the effort made. You don’t have to say thank you for everything but doing that every once in a while is a wonderful way to boost someone’s mood.

  • Be respectful – take the time to get to know your teams and connect with them. Showing that you value them as people creates respect all around. A big lack of respect we see in the workplace is not talking problems out but complaining to others. If a teammate makes a mistake, take that directly to them and don’t talk about it to others on the team. This just creates gossip and will have negative effects on the entire team.

  • Communicate – this is what is lacking the most in almost every office we go into. Keep the communication open with your teams. Leaders, let your team know what is happening in the practice, any changes that are occurring and what that means for them. Teams, talk to your leaders and other teammates about any concerns you may have when you have them. Don’t let things fester and get out of hand. That’s when frustration comes in. Have honest conversations with each other.

  • Listen - we should always listen twice as much as we talk. This is the best way to understand the people around us, what they need and who they are. It’s not always easy to do because we are thinking about our response to what the other person is saying so we are not fully listening to everything they have said. Take the time to listen to everything the other person is saying before generating your reply. It will pay great dividends for you in the end. 

  • Foster accountability – nothing brings a team down quicker than when you have someone on the team that is not pulling their weight. Hold those people accountable so they do not have the opportunity to cause problems in the practice. Talk to the team member that is not doing the job they are required to do and if their behavior doesn’t change it may be time to get a new employee. 

It is a great time to set a new tone for your practice. Get started today! If you feel that you need assistance in getting everyone rowing in the same direction again, send us an email at We would be happy to help!


Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE, Consultant

At age 14, Janice Janssen got an after-school job working for her dentist. Twenty-something years later, she is the co-founder of Global Team Solutions and an expert in practice consulting. Besides hands-on experience, Janice has gained professional recognition for her hard work and commitment to excellence. She is co-author of OMG! Office Management Guide, the “bible” used in GTS training workshops. She is a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), which positions her as an expert in educating dentists to deter fraud and embezzlement in their practice.

Janice can be reached at:

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