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How do you resolve conflict in your dental practice culture? This month, my partner, Jack Bayramyan, and I are exploring the role of leadership in your dental practice and using your leadership to guide your organization to greater success. So, this week I want to talk about a tool that I use that has had a profound effect on my leadership abilities.

The Importance of Leadership in your Dental Practice

Team culture is a huge, unavoidable aspect of growing your dental practice. If you don’t have team cohesion and a coalescing around your vision for growth you won’t get from point A to point B. It’s a stark reality but it’s the truth.  

If you don’t have a cohesive team culture the issues begin to mount:  

The list sadly goes on. Team cohesion is vital to the growth of your practice. And there is never a more glaring example of this than when a conflict arises within the practice. Without proper cohesion within a business culture, when an issue arises people resort to bad habits or limited experience with these situations. There are various negative responses to conflict and we’ve all seen them:  

When a practice doesn’t have team cohesion, strong leadership and non-existent culture people will fall back on bad habits or reactive behaviors. But if a practice has strong leadership from you, strong team cohesion and a collaborative culture of teamwork, then, when conflict arises, people have the ability and tools to rise above their reactive behaviors and solve problems together.  

Conflict Reactivity in your Dental Practice 

Fortunately, as a dental practice owner, you do have blueprints and solutions to resolve conflict, spark collaboration and create greater team cohesion even amid disagreement and dissension. First, let’s get a greater understanding of the way conflict tends to play out typically in a business organization with no team culture or cohesion and a lack of strong leadership.  

The Karpman Drama Triangle was first developed by Stephen B. Karpman in 1968. This model was designed to understand the ways in which people react during conflict, professionally and personally. There are three main roles in this paradigm. These descriptions were taken from a brilliant blog post at The Profit Recipe, that reminded me of the importance of using your leadership role to rise above conflict and see it through a new paradigm. 

The Original Karpman Drama Triangle Roles  

We don’t need to get too in the weeds here, but this paradigm offers a good understanding of the general reactionary roles people tend to fall into when there is conflict but no cohesion.  

Generally, people fall into 1 of these 3 roles when there is no awareness or formalized process for conflict resolution predetermined and agreed upon by team members beforehand. And this model, by no means, is set in stone. This is a guideline for understanding human behavior and how it plays out in unstructured and structured settings, as it relates to business environments.  

Resolving Conflict in your Dental Practice
The Profit Recipe: Drama Triangle and Empowerment Dynamic

A Paradigm Shift in your Dental Practice  

Now, I want to share with you a tool that I use myself that has proven incredibly efficient, cohesive and inspiring. I’ve used it in my experience as a team leader, business consultant and CEO, to help me reframe roles while helping my teams sort through issues responsively rather than being reactive.  

If you look at the top part of the diamond graphic, you’ll see another version of the Karpman Drama Triangle. This version is called The Empowerment Dynamic and this paradigm was developed by David Emerald.

The Emerald Roles of Dynamic Empowerment 

David Emerald describes his paradigm as “a profound, yet clear and simple method to free yourself from your reactive habits.” David Emerald has spent over 30 years in leadership education and executive and organization development and is the author of The Power of TED: The Empowerment Dynamic. And his website offers tools and support for using this paradigm to shift your understanding around conflict.

When you can redefine and reframe the conflict paradigm in your organization, you get to solutions and resolution much faster. This reframing allows people to free themselves from reactionary triggers and stay open to collaboration and solution.  

Using This Paradigm in your Leadership Role

There are two vitally important ways to use this model to get the results you want. The first is with yourself. As a leader, situational awareness is key to your success. It behooves you to know who your team members are and where they sit on the bus (your organization). Studying this dynamic gives you a great understanding and awareness of the way conflict plays out in a professional setting. This awareness will elevate your ability to see these dynamics and help team members avoid these roles.

The other way to use this model is to introduce it to your team and have an open and honest conversation about the model and these roles. You, as an organization and team, can then work towards the paradigm shift presented in the empowerment dynamic and use these new roles to elevate the conversation during a conflict. But awareness is the key here. It first starts with you, as a leader, becoming aware of these roles and how and if they play out in your organization.

Orienting your team around a cohesive culture is your job as the leader. And your awareness around the way your team resolves conflict will equal greater success in communication, resilience and collaboration. You got this.

Improve your Leadership through Support, Connection and Community

I’ve got one more tool for you while you’re here. I run a regular mastermind built exclusively for dentists. A mastermind is a group of peers that come together on a regular basis to work out their biggest challenges, share resources and lean on each other to get through the rough patches and celebrate the wins. It is the single most effective tool that an entrepreneur has in his or her entrepreneurial toolkit.

One of the best ways I know to remain steadfast in your goals, bust through your obstacles, find resources and community to keep you strong is joining a Mastermind. Other benefits of this mastermind are the incredible opportunities you will get to improve your leadership skills, understand the importance of team culture within your dental practice and learn to create greater team cohesion. You will learn from those who’ve walked in your shoes and found success.

We have created a strong community and we would love for you to join us. Click the button to register for the next one and we’ll see you there!