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Do you have a swinging team member?

The signs are varied.
It can be the look of misery when they arrive for work.
It can be the short and unpleasant message sent over the smartphone about something that displeased them.
It can be the shift in attitude from helpful to unhelpful to those around them.

It is the moody team member.

It is the team member who swings from positive to negative, who swings from up to down and then back up again.

They are not always displaying unhelpful behaviour.

Sometimes they are great.

But, it’s not consistent: they are swingers!

And the good, happy, positive side of the moody team member is cancelled out by the negative impacts of their often unpredictable mood swings.

I have worked in and with many dental teams and I have seen how powerful a moody team member can be. I have seen powerful team cultures become dysfunctional and I have seen dental practices lose great team members because the moody team member’s swings were allowed to wreak havoc.

A moody team member is difficult to manage because they are often a good, or even great, performer. Practices don’t want to lose their positive contribution. But, their damaging impact is evident. Many practice leaders feel they are in a Catch 22. On top of this, finding excellent replacements is becoming harder for our industry.

Mood swings can be caused by many things from diet and illness to psychological and physiological issues. Regardless of the reasons, moody team members and their swings must be managed by the leaders of a practice.

Creating a positive, supportive and motivated environment is a crucial responsibility of the leader of a high-performing team. Allowing a moody team member to make the working day miserable for others has many negative repercussions on team unity and functionality and creates a vibe of animosity in your practice that patients can pick up on.

Moody team members and their unpredictable swings are bad for your business. They cost you surprisingly large amounts of money.

You cannot afford to do nothing!

If you want evidence of the cost of doing nothing, ask for our unique spreadsheet calculator that will let you do your own analysis!  


STEP 1 – Compassionate enquiry
Sit down with the moody team member and compassionately enquire whether there is anything going on with them. Are they happy in their job? Have they got struggles with their personal life? You can still be compassionate and helpful with the team member and assist them to discover solutions to what is troubling them, while still effectively managing their moody behaviour.

STEP 2 – Discuss the issue
Moody people often don’t realise the impact of their mood swings, or they may not even care. Speak to them about what you and others have observed and your concerns about the broader impact. It is crucial to identify specific examples so the team member can truly understand the issues.

STEP 3 – Identify the acceptable behaviour
Clearly explain the behaviours, attitudes and team communication that is preferred and acceptable in your practice. (If you have not already designed a Team Culture Policy, use this as an opportunity to get one started.)

STEP 4 – Accountability
Arrange a follow-up meeting with the team member so you can check in and provide support as they reform their behaviour. Several meetings may be required to ensure you are both on the same page.

STEP 5 – Consequences
You are taking this action with this moody team member because you have decided this swinging mood behaviour must stop. Make sure the team member is aware that the refusal to reform will lead to loss of job.


If you think this is too hard, or you don’t feel confident in successfully implementing the process, call me.

We at JPPS help practices do the ‘hard’ stuff that is not the usual day-to-day routine, so that your practice can thrive and grow, to achieve your inspiring vision.