We all know dentists work harder than many other people, running a business, leading a team, and serving patients. Unless we delegate effectively to team members, we will live lives full of stress and burnout. Yet way too many dentists still do way too much themselves.
It’s natural to roll up our sleeves and push through a busy season or two, but if those busy seasons turn into months or even years, it’s not sustainable. We need to delegate more.
Many dentists struggle to delegate, though. Some of them just need some help identifying tasks to delegate and training their team to perform. Others resist, making up excuse after excuse for why they can’t or won’t delegate. Here are six common—but bad—excuses dentists use to avoid delegating.
1. “I’m better at the task than anyone I’d delegate it to.”
If you’re using this excuse, you need to focus on building a better team, training an existing team, or implementing systems and processes.
You may have more experience than your team members, but that doesn’t mean you need to do everything just because you’re better at doing those things than your team members are. For many of those tasks, you will be wasting valuable chairside time to non-revenue-generating work. That can cost you a lot of money. If you’re better at the task, have someone shadow you while you do it a few times, documenting how you do it and asking clarifying questions. Over time, let them take over while you supervise during the time you would normally do the task. Soon enough, you’ll be ready to hand off the task without adding additional burdens to your schedule.
2. “It’ll take less time if I do it instead.”
If you do something that takes 12 minutes a day, you can save an hour every week by training someone to do it.
Even if it takes you four hours to train someone to take over the task over the course of several weeks, you will save that amount of time in just four weeks once they take over. It might take less time to do a task one time, but delegating is a long-term investment.
3. “I don’t trust someone else to get the job done right.”
The problem with this logic is that you shouldn’t have anyone on your team if they can’t be trusted to get a job done right that’s under their responsibility with proper training and systems. We must be able to trust everyone on our team to the point that we can train them, give them systems or processes, and confidently delegate appropriate tasks to them.
For example, if you can’t run the morning huddle one day—which you need to do to get your team to do their best work every day—you should be able to trust delegating that task to another leader on your team. If not, a key activity that promotes productivity will be completely dependent on you. That’s very risky.
4. “I need to be indispensable.”
Some doctors—and even team members—resist delegating because they want to be indispensable. This is a very bad idea. In addition to coming off to team members as arrogant, if you’re the only one who can perform a task, you’ll never be able to pull away from the practice. You’ll be a bottleneck. And if you’re sick or unavailable, productivity across the entire practice will suffer.
5. “I like doing the task, so I should be the one to do it.”
You might enjoy doing administrative work but that doesn’t mean it’s a good use of your time.
You didn’t go to dental school to do administrative work. Let someone whose job it is to do that work do it instead. They can likely do a better job than you, too, because they do those tasks all day.
It’s not a good use of your time to take you away from revenue generation or family time to do administrative work. Delegate tasks you shouldn’t be doing to people who should be doing them.
6. “My team is already busy enough.”
This excuse marks a bigger issue. If they’re already busy, you either need more team members or better systems and processes. Otherwise, your team will end up overworked and overwhelmed. It will only be a matter of time before they leave—especially the top performers who can more easily find other jobs.
Are you making excuses for not delegating?
You’ll never be able to grow your dream practice without being able to delegate confidently. So, if you find yourself making these excuses (or others), challenge yourself to look at the deeper issue and find a way to delegate more.
If you want help, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program today, where you can access top training and get coaching for yourself and your team members from our roster of experts in all facets of running a practice.