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Episode #621: Overfunctioning And Its Unintentional Consequences, With Ariel Juday

Your team is smart and capable. Step back and let them be successful! To reveal how, Kirk Behrendt brings back Ariel Juday, one of ACT’s amazing coaches, so you can stop overfunctioning and feeling overworked. You can’t and shouldn’t do everything on your own! Empower your team to find purpose in their roles. To start delegating more and stressing less, listen to Episode 621 of The Best Practices Show!

Episode Resources:

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Read Scaling Up by Verne Harnish

Read Traction by Gino Wickman

Main Takeaways:

If the leader overfunctions, it causes the team to underfunction.

Sift through the untrue and unhelpful beliefs you have.

Get rid of the limiting beliefs about your team.

Empower your team by stepping back.

Your team is smart and capable.


“[Overfunctioning is] when as a person, as a leader, or as an individual, we’re taking on too much responsibility. That means we’re trying to either control things that we can’t control, or we’re trying to fix it. We’re trying to [solve] the problem. And common for business owners, and I think as you probably have experienced, is when we’re doing too many things that aren’t essential all the time. We may feel that they’re essential, but they’re not necessarily essential at this moment, and they’re maybe not necessary. So, we’re taking on way too many responsibilities. As you can imagine, that leads to a lot of burnout.” (2:30—3:07)

“There are a lot of examples [of overfunctioning] within the office of, they’re doing things that they feel — it’s out of our own anxiety, our own insecurity that it needs to be done, or maybe someone else can’t do it as well. I see a lot of dentists and a lot of my clients involved in a lot of the basic administrative tasks. They’re daily execution tasks that — that’s what your team is for. That’s what they can do. Like photography — there are lots of team members that would love to do it and love to learn about it. I have one client, she checks the notes at the end of the day. Every single patient, she’s checking their notes. So, it’s constantly doing things that team members are happy to do. But as you mentioned, we’re training them to underfunction. Maybe those team members no longer do it because, why would they? The doctor has done it for them for years.” (4:17—5:12)

“[Constant reminders to your team] demotivates them. It’s now, you’re constantly on them about something that they’re not doing right, or you’re doing it for them. Then, I think that becomes a disconnect. Now, you have this goal. You have this idea of where we should go as a team. But the team doesn’t feel that because they’re not engaged. They’re not engaged in the process, either because they don’t feel the need to, or you’ve trained them that way. Maybe they used to do it, or maybe we never gave them the chance to. So, I feel like as dentists and as leaders, we take that on and we start working on it, and we say, ‘Well, I’ll just do it because it needs to be done, and it’s easier if I do it,’ because we all know the process of training is tough. It’s not easy and it takes time. It’s slower than if I were to do it myself. But that’s a short-term fix. What’s the long-term goal? And that’s where we start beating ourselves up, because then we start feeling like we’re not doing enough because we’re not getting to the big things. We’re never being productive enough. But you ultimately can’t when you have too many things on your plate at one time.” (5:48—6:56)

“One thing you see is a lot of resentment. As a leader, when you do start doing all of this and you feel like you are working harder than everyone else, or you’re putting in more energy, you’re working longer hours, you start resenting your team members because you feel like they aren’t giving the same amount of energy to the same situations.” (8:35—8:58)

“[When we overfunction], we start creating a different reality and perceiving what our team members are thinking. ‘Oh, they don’t care,’ or, ‘They’re not trying.’ And that’s not true. Then, as team members, they start saying, ‘Well, all they ever do is correct what I’m doing,’ or, ‘They’re always looking behind my back,’ or, ‘They’re always fixing it.’ So, then they get frustrated and start perceiving that as their leader or their dentist doesn’t trust them. And I say to my teams, ‘As a team member, why would I put the effort in if you’re going to go behind me and correct it? And then, it gets to the point of, I’m just not going to do it because I know you’re going to do it anyways. So what if you’re upset with me?’” (9:39—10:26)

“We know that perfection is never going to happen. You can’t get there. You always have to worry about progress. If you’re working for perfection, you’re not going to be able to stop and celebrate the successes of where you’ve come from. If you’re looking at, ‘Okay, I’m going to get a little bit better. I’m going to do one thing better today,’ it may not be perfect, but I improved. I went golfing last night, and I didn’t do as well as I would have liked. But when I texted my family, I was like, ‘You know what? Overall, last night was not as good, but I’m still getting better.’ If I’m worried about beating everyone else on the course, well, that’s not going to happen. I just started. You can’t compare yourself because you don’t know where they’ve been. I’m on day two. They’re on day 102.” (11:32—12:22)

“[When you overfunction, the team starts] seeing that you’re stressed. They start feeling it. And as we’ve already mentioned, there’s a dynamic of, now, the team is underfunctioning. So, not only has the dentist created more stress because they’re overfunctioning, which is going to lead to them to continue that process, the team is now underfunctioning. Now, we have an even bigger divide. Now, the dentist is like, ‘Well, now, I really need to fix this and rescue it,’ so they start overfunctioning again. That’s where they get into that vicious circle. I think they really need to stop and say, ‘Okay, hold on. What is causing this?’ Because a lot of the time, if you’re disengaged or you feel your team is disengaged, what has caused that? It’s not just, all of a sudden, the team doesn’t care. We’ve probably done something to get them to that point. So, it really comes down to self-awareness.” (13:21—14:15)

“What are some of those untrue or unhelpful beliefs that you’re telling yourself? Maybe you’re saying, ‘Well, I have to do it, or it won’t get done.’ First, is that true, or is it not true? Maybe it’s true. Or sometimes, it’s not true. Then, it’s like, ‘Okay. Well, if it’s not true, why am I telling myself this?’ And then, you have to say, ‘Maybe it is true. But is it unhelpful for me to be thinking of it in a negative way? How can I change it?’ Because we start thinking of the way the team should be functioning, or the responsibilities. I think that’s when we start looking for that perfection, and we start telling ourselves negative consequences and untrue and unhelpful beliefs of the situation.” (14:19—15:02)

“Start respecting your time and energy. What are we putting our energy to? You always say put your energy into the things that only you can do and that you enjoy. So, if I enjoy doing a particular task and that’s something that I am the best person for the job, well, I’m going to do that. Let’s start delegating and helping team members do the tasks that they enjoy. You have to start honoring your boundaries, because if you don’t honor your own boundaries, how are you going to expect team members to honor those boundaries?” (16:39—17:15)

“When teams say, ‘These are your responsibilities. These are your daily tasks,’ do they align with that team member’s strengths? Because if not, we’re really sucking a lot of their energy out. And then, that could cause me as a leader to say, ‘Okay. Well, they’re not doing it,’ or, ‘They’re not doing it very well.’ So, now, I’m going to start doing it. I feel that responsibility. I think we have to evaluate, does everyone have the appropriate tasks? And then, you can start evaluating right people, right seats.” (18:26—19:00)

“Delegation is not just handing over tasks. I could say, ‘Well, I don’t want to do that, so I’m going to give it to someone else.’ That’s not actually what delegation is. Delegation is looking at a team member’s skills and strengths and saying, ‘You know what? Honestly, they would be really good at this. I really trust that they would get this done.’ So, when I’m delegating something to a team member, that’s what I’m telling them, is, ‘Hey, you have a skill set that I do not have. You have the ability to do something better than I can do, or faster, or more efficient, and I would really like your help with this.’ So, if you approach it in that way of, I’m not just handing over tasks. I’m actually giving them opportunities to show their success and to prove to themselves and to the team that they really are an important part of the team, that’s what delegation is. It’s looking for opportunities and helping them see that.” (22:17—23:17)

“It has to be a slow process because we have to make sure that we’re setting them up for success. You can’t delegate ten tasks in a row. We have to make sure that they have the tools, the training, and support, and that they’re comfortable with that task before moving on. Because if you do just throw it all on them, now, it does feel like, ‘Oh, they just don’t want to do that anymore, so now I need to pick up that slack.” (23:29—23:53)

“What limiting beliefs are you telling yourself? Become self-aware, and then trust the process. You’ll be surprised how well your team responds and how empowered they feel once you step back. You will realize that, ‘Oh, I do have a really good team around me. I was the one that was being their ceiling. I was capping their abilities.’ Once you take a step back, you’ll really see that teams become empowered, they become enthusiastic, they become more engaged the more that you give them, the more opportunities that you allow for them to have during their day-to-day work.” (25:26—26:08)


0:00 Introduction.

2:22 Overfunctioning, defined.

4:05 Overfunctioning causes underfunctioning.

6:59 Goals don’t motivate your team.

8:29 Overfunctioning leads to resentment.

11:07 Avoid perfectionism and comparison.

12:22 Get rid of untrue and unhelpful beliefs.

16:26 The treatment plan for overfunctioning.

19:01 Why you need a Function Accountability Chart.

21:30 Delegation, explained.

25:18 Last thoughts on overfunctioning.

Ariel Juday Bio:

Ariel has a master’s in healthcare administration and several years of dental experience in all aspects of the administrative roles within the dental office. Her passion is to work with dental teams to empower team members to realize their full potential in order to better serve patients, improve office systems to ensure a well-functioning team/office, and to help everyone have fun in the process!

Outside of work, she can be found by the beach or the pool reading a good book, enjoying sporting events with her husband, Alex, or exploring the outdoors with her Bluetick Coonhound, Maddux. 

Kirk Behrendt

Kirk Behrendt is a renowned consultant and speaker in the dental industry, known for his expertise in helping dentists create better practices and better lives. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Kirk has dedicated his professional life to optimizing the best systems and practices in dentistry. Kirk has been a featured speaker at every major dental meeting in the United States. His company, ACT Dental, has consistently been ranked as one of the top dental consultants in Dentistry Today's annual rankings for the past 10 years. In addition, ACT Dental was named one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States by Inc Magazine, appearing on their Inc 5000 list. Kirk's motivational skills are widely recognized in the dental industry. Dr. Peter Dawson of The Dawson Academy has referred to Kirk as "THE best motivator I have ever heard." Kirk has also assembled a trusted team of advisor experts who work with dentists to customize individual solutions that meet their unique needs. When he's not motivating dentists and their teams, Kirk enjoys coaching his children's sports teams and spending time with his amazing wife, Sarah, and their four children, Kinzie, Lily, Zoe, and Bo.