Dental teams change. As team members have children, alter their hours and then perhaps leave, dental teams employ new team members to fill the vacant roles.
When your new team member has years of prior experience in the role, integration can be swift.
When your new team member is also taking on a new role, a period of training and guidance is required before your practice can truly benefit from this team member’s contribution.
Who embraces the role of trainer in your practice?
In my practice in the past, I was delighted to be the designated trainer.
But in many practices, team members are often resistant to training new team members. This is understandable when you consider that few team members have been trained in how to perform this task effectively.
I believe that empowering another person with education and training, developing in them a new skill-set, is an honourable and noble thing to do.
I therefore encourage you to embrace the training process. Be curious about what you need to know and choose to become an excellent trainer. Develop a desire to have a lasting and positive impact on your trainee.
Some of the greatest rewards I had in owning my practice was the positive and inspirational feedback from team members who had grown significantly by becoming part of our team.
Here’s a few hints that will help your practice get on the right track:
INVOLVE AND ENGAGE THE TRAINEE
Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Effective training is not simply telling the trainees what needs to be done. Show them how you would like it done, then hand it over to the trainees to complete the task. Don’t provide the answers to them too quickly. Allow and challenge their minds to be active and search for what the next step is.
BE A CHEERLEADER
Learning a new skill requires certain areas of our brains to become active. They spark up and help you with problem solving, concentration and processing new information. Activity in these areas of the brain becomes stifled when we are criticised or experience blows to our self-esteem. You want your trainees to feel confident that they can accomplish what needs to be done, so become their cheerleader. Encourage them at every opportunity and celebrate every win.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Even though your trainees have learned how a new skill is to be performed, they still require conscious thought each time they perform the task. This slows them down and they tire more easily. It is through the repetition of tasks that shifts the process from the conscious mind to the subconscious mind, thereby making it much easier to perform. Give your trainees time to repeat the tasks often before expecting them to be automatic in their performance.
MISTAKES ARE ESSENTIAL
Your attitude to mistakes made by your new trainees is a crucial factor in determining the speed of learning. You have not learnt any skill in life without making mistakes: even the simple arts of walking and eating were accompanied by many mistakes made by you as a child. You must make your attitude clear to your trainees and you must apply it consistently. Inconsistency leads to confusion in your trainees, slows down their rate of learning, and costs your practice lots of money!
The quote by Archilochus is relevant:
“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”
Providing your trainees with the level of training they need is the best and most profitable way they are going to be able to perform to the level of your expectations. What your trainees need most is an effective trainer.
Who will embrace the wonderfully rewarding role of trainer in your practice for mutually rewarding and beneficial experiences?