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The Top 7 Qualities of an Effective Dental Practice Manager

If you want to have a successful dental practice, you need an effective dental practice manager. Here are some of the top qualities that make for a superstar office manager.

Dental Intelligence


January 12, 2024

Having a successful dental practice goes beyond having great clinicians. Without an effective dental practice manager, your practice could be missing out on its true revenue potential.

While dentists and hygienists tend to focus on the clinical side of the practice, the business side is essential for long-term growth, profit, and sustainability. To have a successful practice, you need a great dental practice manager.

This article outlines the top 7 qualities that embody a high-performing dental practice manager.

1. Communication

Perhaps the most important skill a practice manager needs to have developed during their career is the ability to communicate. Communication goes beyond mere words, including being able to perceive and utilize body language and tone of voice.  

Being a skilled communicator helps with dental staff training, staff relations, and patient satisfaction. Dental Intelligence offers tools to easily communicate with patients as well as an internal Team Chat feature. While communication alone won’t prevent all forms of conflict or patient dissatisfaction, you’ll find that an effective communicator can help diffuse situations and find workable solutions for any issue.  

2. Empathy

Having empathy doesn’t necessarily mean an office manager must always agree with everyone, and it certainly doesn’t mean being a pushover. Instead, an empathetic practice manager will recognize that every staff member and patient is different and adjust their communication style accordingly.

For example, an empathetic practice manager will be sensitive to a situation in which a patient cannot pay their bill in full and will help them discuss ways to meet their financial obligations without making them feel defensive.

3. Leadership Qualities

Dental practice leadership goes beyond the day-to-day management of a practice. While a practice manager needs to be able to keep things running smoothly, leadership is equally (if not more) important. Strong leaders make hard decisions, create and implement a vision, keep everyone aligned, and inspire a team to work hard and have fun.

4. Analytical Abilities

A lot of data analysis is involved in managing a dental practice. Collections, patient lifetime value, operating expenses, and employee production are a handful of the KPIs (key performance indicators) that must be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure practice profitability.

An effective dental practice manager needs to be able to collect this data, analyze it, and make recommendations to improve practice performance. Today, there are modern tools like Dental Intelligence Metrics & Reporting that can make this task more manageable while still giving practice managers the flexibility to customize their goals, systems, and reports. 

The right software in the hands of a skilled office manager can increase both the quantity and quality of data available, turning piles of meaningless numbers into actionable insights for your team to execute on.

5. Organization Skills

A dental practice has many moving parts, and an office manager needs to be able to keep a lot of plates in the air while making everything look effortless. Phones ringing off the hook, paperwork, and busy schedules all need to be handled with poise and grace.

There’s no right way to be organized, and different practice managers may have varying methodologies. The key to being an effective (and organized) dental practice manager is to have systems in place and be able to train the rest of the staff on how to follow those systems for maximum efficiency.

6. Ability to Embrace Change Gracefully

 The one constant in this world is change, and that includes running a dental practice! A practice manager must be able to both accept and embrace change. This includes adopting new procedures, diagnostic tools, treatments, and software systems, while also staying abreast of developments.

Recently, augmented and artificial intelligence (AI) have become mainstream, and many practice managers will need to be able to incorporate this tech. From a practical standpoint, office managers can leverage AI to corral patient data and more effectively administer practice protocols.

7. Sense of Humor

Finally, a practice manager should have a healthy sense of humor. Office management can be incredibly stressful, and humor helps to bring levity and keep everything in perspective.

Even the most organized and efficient practice is bound to have days where everything goes wrong. Instead of panicking, getting angry, or becoming overwhelmed, an effective practice manager can find humor in any circumstance and dig deep to crack a smile or a joke in the face of adversity.

The Perfect Office Manager Needs the Right Tools to Succeed

Managing a dental office is a monumentally important task, so ensure that your office manager is equipped with the right tools to succeed. Dental Intelligence provides software that empowers the whole team to build, run, and grow successful practices.

To see how Dental Intelligence can help make practice management a breeze, schedule a demo today. 

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