When referring to practice management, most often the issues addressed deal with the daily tasks to be accomplished and a more effective game plan for accomplishing them; ways to improve patient satisfaction or improve collections. However, no practice will experience a very high level of success if leadership is lacking. Effective leadership is the key to the success of any business or practice.
There are many elements to being a great leader, and this responsibility typically falls on the shoulders of the physician; however, office managers certainly bear a lot of this burden as well, as they are responsible for making sure the show runs smoothly day in and day out. So the leadership role is definitely shared, as it should be.
That being said, doctors have the power to set the overall tone for the practice as a whole, every single day. They can establish and enhance the brand of the practice through suggested daily routines, appearance of the office and staff, and set the attitude and demeanor each day as well. As every provider likely began with a mission and vision in mind for their practice, it is important that this be defined and shared with the staff on a regular basis as this can change as time goes on.
Here are some ways in which active leaders engage with their staff and patients in order to create the vision they are working towards:
- Hire a good team. Put the right people in the right places in order to get things done in the most efficient manner. Then inspire and empower them with appropriate training, encouragement, and compliments.
- Have hard conversations. Come face-to-face with situations most would avoid and do what is necessary to work toward resolution of issues that arise. Be respectfully straight-forward with what the expectations are so that there are no misunderstandings, and the job will get done in the way and time it should be.
- Hold regular morning, team, and department meetings. Review stats, set daily goals, balance the tasks, schedule for productivity and efficiency.
- Create a yearly business plan that defines goals and budget. Leaders understands the value of money, know how to save, and do not spend excessively.
- Ask how things can be done better. Be open to feedback and suggestions on how to realize your vision and improve processes as well as the patient experience.
- Listen. Get in the habit of listening to your patients and your team before you speak your wisdom. Gain communication skills and encourage openness and collaboration.
- Maximize technology. Stay current and take advantage of digital technology in healthcare to keep patients engaged, educated, and to maximize practice efficiency and growth.
- Celebrate practice victories. When you achieve practice goals, always celebrate and acknowledge those who were significant in those accomplishments.
- Create life balance. A successful leader has a life outside of his/her practice; is balanced physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually; and is willing to learn from and accept the advice from professionals and proven leaders in their area of expertise as well as any of those areas.
- Participate in community service. Find ways to educate those in your community through free clinics or speaking opportunities.
- Coach to Success. Understand employees strengths and what motivates them, recognize employee growth, and have the goal of creating leaders within your entire team so that responsibilities can be easily assumed by anyone should a member of the team not be available. It is also important to hold employees accountable for behavior and job performance and help them set individual goals for success. Hold annual performance reviews.
Lead by example. Show up on time and ready to work every day! Keep a positive and optimistic attitude. It is contagious. Expecting the best outcomes every day will create good vibes and a positive work environment. Your patients will enjoy the benefits too!.
Mark E. Hyman, DDS said,“If you’re leading and no one is following, you’re only taking a walk!”
Strong interpersonal and leadership skills are essential to promoting a high level of organization within your practice, keeping your staff motivated and your patients happy. Your practice is only as great as your team’s attitude and performance. Therefore, it is wise always to encourage team members to strive for consistent growth and cultivate an environment for personal excellence and clear communication!
By consciously and consistently creating an environment of enthusiasm, encouragement, respect, compassion, integrity, and support, you can inspire your team to provide the highest level of care for your patients while experiencing maximum productivity and profitability for your practice.