Two Things to Prevent Chaos and Prima Donna’s

From The Dr. John Meis Show

In Episode 17 of the Dr. John Meis Show, he discusses two things that your team needs to prevent chaos and prima donnas. It's this simple, the two things our teams need from us, and they need to be balanced in specific ways. The two things are challenge and support. Tune in now...

(For those who prefer reading over watching the video)


Dr. John Meis: You want to know two things that your teams need that will keep you from creating prima donnas and chaos? Well that's coming up on this episode of the Dr. John Meis Show.

Dr. John Meis: So it goes this simple. There's two things that our teams need from Episode 17 of the Dr. John Meis Show, he discuses two things that your team needs to prevent chaos and prima madonnas. It's this simple, the two things our teams need from us, and they need to be balanced in specific ways. The two things are challenge and support.  Now, I love to put things on a four by four grid so that we can look at them in different ways, right? So if we look at this, and we look at what would be in the lower right-hand box, that's high challenge and low support. Well that's the dominator. That's the micromanager, that's the control freak, so common in dentistry. This is one that's very, very quick and easy to spot when you view it, but when you're the person that's the dominator, you don't necessarily know or feel it. So the dominator needs to improve by creating more support for their team, and more support will balance out their natural high challenge rate.

Dr. John Meis: So if we move to the next box, the low challenge, low support. This is the abdicator, this is the practice owner that just, "Oh yeah, we'll just let the team figure it all out, and I'll just kind of lay back and just see what happens. And I'm not really going to be completely engaged, I'm going to come in late. I'm going to leave early. I'm going to just kind of hum and haw my way around." This is the abdicator. And what happens in abdicator practices is chaos. It ends up being an absolute mess. Everyone's looking for direction and there's no direction to be found, so everybody does their own thing. And it's just like rowing, you know, if everybody rows in the same direction, we make good progress, but if everybody's rowing in a different direction, it just doesn't happen. The abdicator, very common in dentistry, and to be a great leader, you have to provide both support and challenge to your teams.

Dr. John Meis: The next box is high support and low challenge. This is the protector. And so the protector is someone who gives high support, lots of attention, lots of time, but gives very, very little challenge. And when people don't feel like they're challenged, if all they're getting is how wonderful they are, how terrific they are, what a great person, and what a great worker and employee they are, they begin to believe it, and think that they are the best. And this is where we sometimes, without knowing it, we create primadonnas in our own practices. And I know because I did it.

Dr. John Meis: I had a fantastic employee, she really was super, but I was not giving her enough challenge. I always thought, because she was so much better than many of the other employees, I wasn't showing her how she could even be better yet with giving her greater and greater challenge. So as she became more confident, and that confidence turned over into arrogance, when the arrogance happened, her ability to get along with the rest of the team disintegrated, and she had to go. And it was my fault because I simply didn't challenge her enough. Dr. John Meis: So the protector can really be a problem. The most common place I see this in dental practices is the doctor's favorite dental assistant. The one that they work with all the time, that somehow that person doesn't have to play by the rules like everyone else in the office. It can happen to any position in the office, that's just a very common one.

Dr. John Meis: So the quadrant that we want to get in is the liberator. So the liberator, you're giving lots of support, you're giving lots of challenge, you're treating all your employees as individuals, trying to help them all progress, help them all be better, giving support to every one of them. So everyone's confidence level is high, but everyone knows what work they have to do to improve even more.

Dr. John Meis: So finding out where you are on this box, what do you think? Who are you? Which box do you belong in? Well, there's one way to find out. So, the brave ones among you are going to do this. You're actually going to go to your team and you're going to ask them. You're going to draw this out on a whiteboard or on a flip chart, and you're going to draw out the names on there. Describe it just like I did, or show them this video and ask them, "Where am I? Which box do you think I fit in?"

Dr. John Meis: Now, once you've asked your team that, and this is only for the brave ones because you may not get what you want to hear, right, but you will get insight. And when we have insight and self-awareness, it allows us to become a better leader. And when you know from the perspective of each of your employees where they see you, that will help you know whether you need to provide them with more challenge or with more support. So support, challenge, do the quiz with your team. You'll be amazed how much you learn from it and how much better a leader you can become by using the support challenge matrix.

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Dr. John Meis: So that's it for today. We'll see you on the next Dr. John Meis Show.