How Healthy is Your Office Culture? – Maintaining Integrity

This is week two of a four-part series. If you missed week 1, click here to get caught up!

Throughout the month of June, we’re focusing on how to build a healthy leadership culture by working through the four elements identified by Dr. Toby Cosgrove. Last week we covered leading through change. This week, we’re focusing on maintaining integrity: what it means, how it’s demonstrated, and its special concerns in a dental environment.

What is it?

The word integrity has many different meanings, but the simplest definition is this: integrity is the quality of being honest, fair, and sticking to strong moral values. In short, it’s doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.

Integrity is an essential part of the good character needed to build a healthy leadership culture in your practice. It’s important for your whole team to commit to showing it in everyday situations.

How is it shown?

It can be difficult to measure something like integrity. While you can’t necessarily make a spreadsheet to track your team’s character development, there are some specific traits to aim for.

  • Taking responsibility for our actions: a big part of maintaining integrity is owning up to our mistakes and taking steps to correct them, rather than making excuses or placing the blame elsewhere.
  • Encouragement, compassion, and selflessness: following the “golden rule” is a good guideline for this one—treat others as we want them to treat us. This could mean helping out members of your team when they’re struggling, reassuring patients who are going through a hard time, or just taking time to listen to others.
  • Honesty: this is probably the most obvious part of integrity, but it’s by no means the least important. Being honest and up-front with patients and with each other builds trust.
  • Confidentiality: working in a HIPAA-regulated environment means there are extra concerns related to patient confidentiality. It’s vital that all team members are trained in HIPAA and cybersecurity protocols. Consider informing your patients of the security measures you take. They may feel more at ease knowing how hard you work to keep their personal and medical information safe.

How do we encourage a culture of integrity?

The best way to encourage this type of environment in your practice is to lead by example. Integrity is more than just a list of “dos and don’ts,” it’s a value-centric mindset that puts people first. If your colleagues see you helping others, taking extra steps to protect patient information, and taking ownership of your actions, they are more likely to follow suit.

Check back next week to learn how to create an environment that fosters teamwork.

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