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How much do you value honesty?

One of the first lessons that our parents teach us is HONESTY.

And there is good reason why.

Honesty is, in my view, the most important characteristic we develop as human beings.

And this is why honesty is the fourth value that I believe is crucial to a successful dental practice. (Go to my blog page on my website to discover my first three values:

Honesty is:

  • speaking the truth
  • acting with integrity
  • taking responsibility
  • accepting accountability
  • not deceptive or fraudulent

Without a commitment to honesty, we struggle to function effectively in lawful society, our relationships are inauthentic and we suffer the consequences of failing to take responsibility in our lives.

In the dental practice situation, displaying honesty as individuals and as a company is how we build trust in each other and with our patients. Honesty drives our behaviour and this then becomes our culture.

A team made up of people behaving honestly are, I believe, more motivated and engaged. They are more productive, efficient and foster a happy working environment. It is also my belief that these team members display more care towards each other.

In a business, honesty is one of the characteristics that is important to be instituted and developed from the top down. There can be a dilution of responsibility by team members when called upon to act honestly if the leadership of the organisation fails to display honesty. ‘Acceptable dishonesty’ or ‘white lies’ can easily creep into many dental practices. For example, a receptionist accidentally under-charging a patient by a small sum writing it off rather than correcting their mistake. Or, adding additional or inaccurate item numbers to the health fund claims. Or, discovering that an employee is owed wages that they are unaware of and letting it slide.

Implementing the value of honesty into your dental practice requires a full commitment. It is not easy, but nothing worthwhile in life ever is.

Follow these steps if you want to adopt the value of honesty in your practice.

Meet with your team and discuss what honesty means to everyone and decide upon how this value will affect individual and team behaviour.
Assess current systems to ensure they are aligned with your value of honesty.

  • Lead by example.
  • Reward team members who demonstrate honesty.
  • Commit to only recruiting candidates who value (and provide evidence of, where possible) honesty.

Accept that levels of honesty develop over time: initially, there are small steps, then the steps become bigger and more important.

Regularly debrief on the benefits to your practice of acting honestly; explore examples and situations.