BRAVING; Guiding your dental team to a better culture.

We all know the importance of trust in our relationships, including the relationships we have with our working colleagues. Trust helps create safe environments to work and grow with one another. Dental practices that foster effective Team Cultures usually have trust as one of their core values. Recognising why trust is important to your organisation, and what being trustworthy looks like, are crucial to implement this characteristic in your team.


Why is trust important?

Trust is crucial, as humans are inherently inclined towards comfort and safety, which can be jeopardised while working collaboratively. We fear feeling less competent, having our ideas rejected, being misunderstood, being overlooked, feeling foolish, making mistakes…the list goes on. When trust is well-established, we are more prone to take risks, facilitating progress. Trust is the cornerstone for effective communication, collaboration, innovative thinking, successful conflict resolution, heightened employee engagement, job satisfaction, skill development, team stability, stress reduction and team development. With trust, teams are capable of remarkable achievements.

Although the value of trust is universally acknowledged, how do we build trustworthiness within ourselves and our team members? I’ve consistently advocated for adopting trustworthy behaviours, such as walking the talk, keeping confidences, taking responsibility, being accountable and keeping your promises. However, recently, I discovered the concept of BRAVING, developed by thought leader Brene Brown. I believe that Brown’s BRAVING provides an excellent opportunity for dental practices to be able to clearly identify, lead and encourage in others what being trustworthy is all about.


Building trustworthiness

BRAVING is an anacronym that Brene Brown has developed, and the letters represent the following characteristics.

BOUNDARIES: Setting boundaries is making clear what’s okay and what’s not okay, and why.

RELIABILITY: You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations, so you don’t overpromise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.

ACCOUNTABILITY: You own your mistakes, apologise and make amends.

VAULT: You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. I need to know that my confidences are kept, and that you’re not sharing with me any information about other people that should be confidential.

INTEGRITY: Choosing courage over comfort; choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy; and practicing your values, not just professing them.

NONJUDGMENT: I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment.

GENEROSITY: Extending the most generous interpretation to the intentions, words, and actions of others.

Brene Brown proposes using the BRAVING inventory to initiate discussions within your team. By convening your team with an attitude of curiosity and learning, you can build a profound understanding of the role of trust within your dental practice, creating a continuous process of trust-building.

To gain a deeper appreciation of BRAVING, I encourage you watch the following Marie Forleo interview with Brene Brown. The portion that speaks to BRAVING is from the 5:20 mark