How behavioral assessments can create a less stressful dental practice

Effective communication is key to building trust, but what happens when the team members’ communication style and needs are not the same as yours? Behavior describes how we do what we do. It is formed by both natural (inherent) factors and influences from our upbringing and life experiences. It has a huge impact on our relationships and on our world.

DISC is the Universal Language of Observable Behaviour, a self-assessment tool that breaks down personality traits into four styles: dominance, influence, conformity, and stability. D styles revolve around how someone reacts to problems and challenges and how they exert their power. Style I involves people and contacts and how they interact and influence others. S styles stand for rhythm and consistency and how one reacts to changes in variation and rhythm. Finally, Style C is about procedures and constraints and how one responds to authority and the rules and procedures established by others.

Most people are a mixture of these four styles and each style has its strengths and weaknesses. While there is no such thing as right or wrong, right or wrong, when we understand our own mix of behavioral styles, we can recognize how others may view us positively and negatively.

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While our natural DISC style makes us unique, it’s also adaptable. Adapting a style takes effort but can be used to your advantage. Becoming versed in the DISC language allows one to identify the four styles in others, providing the ability to modify behavior as needed and allowing for greater affinity.

Understanding DISC can also help identify an unhealthy environment that is out of style, which requires a significant amount of adaptation and stress. An example of this may be choosing a career path that requires a very different style to achieve top performance.

How DISC Assessments Can Benefit a Dental Practice

Create a positive team culture: According to the popular job site Indeed, company culture refers to the set of behavioral and procedural norms that can be observed in a company. These include policies, procedures, ethics, values, employee behaviors and attitudes, goals and code of conduct. Having an exceptional company culture can have a positive impact on your business, leading to lower employee turnover, more candidates and a better public image.1

DISC assessments coupled with debriefing help team members better understand their own behaviors and appreciate the unique qualities of those around them. This can identify why conflict is occurring and how to adapt to avoid future stress.

Having the right people in the right positions: All jobs require tasks for which certain personality traits are best suited. Recognizing the pace and communication requirements for positions in practice can help guide task assignment. Are personality strengths used to assign tasks such as OSHA officer, treatment plan coordinator, and calling overdue accounts?

Create better case acceptance: Building a strong relationship with patients is fundamental to a successful practice, and good relationships require trust. Simply put, people buy from people they like. This is true whether you are selling a tangible object or an idea. Recognizing DISC traits in patients allows you to modify your approaches and provide treatment and financial information in a style that matches patient needs.

Get positive reviews and patient referrals: A 2013 study from the Wharton School of Business found that referred customers are on average 16-24% more loyal, making word of mouth a crucial aspect of marketing.2 Building authentic and trusting relationships with patients encourages them to share their experiences with others who seek a similar connection. In a world dominated by online information, positive patient reviews and social media posts are a very valuable and free source of advertising.

Create personal awareness and acceptance: Exploring our own behavioral strengths and weaknesses can seem like a daunting task. It can be hard to admit that others may form negative opinions because of observable traits that make us who we are. But just as we must extend grace and acceptance to others, we must provide the same for ourselves. We are all beautifully unique, but we have immeasurable power to leverage our strengths and position ourselves on a path to success.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the June 2022 print edition of Dental economy magazine. Dentists in North America can take advantage of a free print subscription. Register here.


1. Corporate Culture Guide. In effect. September 15, 2021.

2. Schmitt P, Skierra B, Van den Bulte C. Do referral programs increase profits? Wharton Faculty. 2013.

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