Is the #1 Communication Problem Affecting Your Practice?

During my time as a communication and relationship specialist, I have encountered a number of communication problems that occur in the workplace. Out of all these issues, I have found that gossip is the one problem that has the most toxic effect on the dental practice. If not handled properly, gossip has the potential to destroy workplace relationships, decrease productivity and even impact patient care.

Often, gossip starts because person A doesn’t like what person B does—and then person A complains to person C. Taken at face value, the reasons why someone would talk about someone else behind their back make sense; they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or provoke a negative reaction by discussing the problem directly. Unfortunately, over time, this can backfire.

I see this situation quite often between the front and back office. The back office staff assumes that the front office spends their time talking, while the front office staff assumes that the back office doesn’t have as much to do. There are already assumptions from the very beginning, affecting the way that both teams communicate with one another.

If you have noticed a gossip problem within your practice, taking steps to address it is important. Ignoring gossip only guarantees that this issue will get bigger, and will take its toll on your team. How do you solve it? By empowering your staff to have the courage to discuss problems with each other directly, instead of talking about it to others. Employees should be encouraged to address issues as soon as they occur. The closer you are to the incident, the easier it is to resolve.

Next week, I will provide advice on improving practice communication. And, if you’re an orthodontist who is interested in taking your practice to the next level, you can see me speak at the Carestream Dental Orthodontic Summit on March 13.

Have you encountered a problem with gossip in your office? How was it resolved? Let’s discuss it in the comment section below.

About Joan Garbo

Joan Garbo is a national consultant, trainer and public speaker who has been helping professionals optimize their workplace communication and relationships since 1978. Her specialties include coaching and training business owners and employees on effective team-building, communication skills and customer service.

Ms. Garbo has a Masters degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Virginia, and is an active member of the National Speakers Association. For information on office consults, executive coaching or speaker presentations call or write to:

Joan Garbo, Joan Garbo Consultants

19 Glen Ln., Copiague NY 11726 • 631-608-2979

website: email:

Carestream Dental Blog Administrator Contributor