We live in a talent-seeking culture. We have talent scouts in sports, agents in the entertainment business, and headhunters in the corporate world. Heck, we can’t turn the television on without encountering one of the dozens of reality shows set on finding America’s next top model, chef, designer, or performer.

So it makes sense that when you are hiring for your practice, you, too, would be on a great search for the “next best thing” in the dental field. You know they must be out there, right? But what if I told you that while seeking only talent in your team, you may be overlooking various characteristics that have nothing to do with talent, but when leveraged correctly, they have everything to do with the success of your practice.

Here are seven attributes of a great team member that require zero talent, but, when leveraged correctly, add tremendous value to your practice:

1. Timeliness

Let’s face it. The only real talent this takes is the ability to set an alarm clock and be conscientious. But being on time shows respect for you, your team, and your patients.

2. Work ethic

These people naturally play by the rules and abide by a set of moral principals.And talent means nothing without an excellent work ethic. This individual takes initiative, wants to do well, and doesn’t need a babysitter.

3. Effort

Much like in the sporting world, if talented athletes don’t put forth effort in their training and performance, they will eventually be beaten by someone who is less skilled but more determined. And if your team members aren’t bringing their best effort to the office every single day, you’ll find yourself picking up the slack to keep things running smoothly.

“The practices that stand out in a community are the ones who have team members who go the extra mile for their patients”

4. Attitude

Sometimes the smartest, most talented people in the office have the worst attitudes. Have you ever had a team member who thought they were just too good to be there or clearly doesn’t want to be there at all? In today’s world of patient-centric practices, one employee with a bad attitude is a death wish. I would hire a person with a great attitude over talent with a bad attitude any day.

5. Passion

At the end of the day, team members’ engagement is dictated by the passion that drives them. They know their purpose; they know their goals, and everything else is secondary. These are the folks whom people are drawn to — those who command the room without even trying. No talent is necessary for passion, and it sure is contagious.

6. Being coachable

Every great athlete you’ve ever revered has had the guidance of a great coach — one who provides them with direction, inspiration, and accountability. And the better athletes are the ones who respect and respond to that. The same thing goes for your team members. They need to listen and know how to take constructive criticism. They need to be growth-oriented people who learn from their mistakes. Being coachable is “dream-team material” and requires no talent.

7. Doing extra

If you operate your practice like it’s mediocre, it will always be mediocre. To climb out of this rut, you need a team that is willing to do extra. You need highly engaged team members who go above and beyond to over-deliver on value to your patients and you, the practice owner. These team members are the only aspect that separates the most successful practices in the industry from the regrettably average ones. The practices that stand out in a community are the ones who have team members who go the extra mile for their patients.

While skills can be taught, the bottom line is that attitude, passion, and integrity can’t. Start assessing your current team and thinking about your future team in a new light. It’s your responsibility to grow your employees to be the best they can be. And when you have a team that may be lacking in talent but is rich in the qualities above, you have the starting blocks for exceptional growth. Add to that an investment in training — tools to grow them professionally and personally — and you can produce a stellar staff of team members who come to work focused on over-delivering for your patients and helping you to grow your practice.


This article, authored by Jay Geier, was originally published on DrBicuspid.com.