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  • Writer's pictureDavid Stamation

Client Story: The Bad Guy


Dental practices are tight knit family-like environments and are a big reason why people enjoy working in them, so when there is one member who is difficult to work with it negatively impacts everyone.

The challenge for this client, the doctor who owns the practice, was fear. Fear of being short-staffed if he fired them and the deeper fear that he would be seen as the ‘bad guy’. The first point is obvious that being down a person makes others work harder and the effort required to hire a new person – all practical considerations.

As we explored his inaction to firing this person, we discovered his intense fear of being seen as a ‘bad guy’ and preoccupation with not being liked as the main factors holding him back.

We focused on his fear and what was under it, he immersed himself with visualizations of the worst imaginable outcomes that he could think of: staff hates me, they think I’m mean-spirited, cold hearted and that they will want to quit. In other words, he leaned into his fears and took a bite out of the power they had over him. This gave him courage to deal with the situation.

Two weeks later he reported the following: He fired the difficult employee and the heavy mood lifted. None of his worst fears manifested and everyone stayed, to his relief he gained their confidence and loyalty, so much so that they were willing to take up the slack of being short-staffed without complaint. On the emotional front he shifted from fear and reluctance to lighter feelings of confidence and pride.

Leaning into his leadership gap helped him establish a mindset to lead the practice not from a place of fear but from one of confidence.


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