While leadership is a big subject with much to learn, there are a couple of basic, often ignored leadership concepts you could make use of – right now.
We’ll start with the standard you set for your team.
YOU are the Model!
Whether you are the Doctor or the Office Manager, you are always “ on stage.” How you conduct yourself, whether you show up to work on time or not, blow off meetings, complain endlessly about problems or just solve them quickly, you are always (knowingly or unknowingly) being “watched” by your “audience” – your team.
When they see how you handle adversity and conduct yourself in business, it directly communicates to them what is considered to be “okay” or acceptable in your practice.
If you show up late to or blow off meetings, or you issue orders with little to no follow up for compliance, or become unfriendly or upset for no good reason, your staff are watching. There’s a huge opening in the schedule and you yell and scream, or you go to your office and sulk, you’re effectively telling your team “this is how we handle things in our office,” and by extension telling them how they should conduct themselves.
If you think hard, I’d bet you can recall a few times where your staff have reflected some negative behavior. You snap at your Office Manager when they make a mistake, and then days or weeks later you notice your OM snap at the Receptionist the same way. Or you casually dismiss a hole in the schedule as unimportant and then wonder later on why the Scheduling Coordinator seems blasé about today’s (and tomorrow’s) open time.
The important lesson here: look at how you conduct yourself as a leader, whether you’re the doctor or office manager because you’re the example your team is looking to emulate.
(Related: Why Your Staff Don’t Listen to You)
Your conduct and performance should be what your team is aspiring towards. If you don’t like the way you’re behaving or handling yourself as an executive or leader, then it’s time to have a really good look and use discipline to change any tendencies you feel aren’t acceptable. You should conduct yourself according to the way you would hope your staff to behave and act.
To our next point:
Never ask someone to do something you yourself aren’t willing to do
Let’s say you hate discussing finances with patients. Even in a pinch, you just won’t do it – yet you’ll ask an employee to. And while they legitimately may be better at it than you are, I learned a long time ago to never ask someone to do something that I myself would not do. It’s a matter of being genuine as a leader. Ideally, I’d hope to surround myself with specialists and great team members who handle tasks way better than I can – that makes my life easy. But, nonetheless, I always have THE WILLINGNESS to handle whatever I am asking others to handle if the need were to arise.
I’ve done all sorts of things in my company – stuffing envelopes, handling customer complaints, cleaning up a mess and taking out an overflowing trash can and so on. It doesn’t make sense for me to be doing these things on a regular basis – I have another job – but in a pinch, I’m willing and never consider it to be “beneath” me.
(Related: 7 Steps to Well Trained Staff)
If you find yourself in the position of having staff members doing things you aren’t willing to do yourself, you’ll probably notice that it feels a little weird. And you’ll find that you become a little too dependent upon that person. Not that there’s anything wrong with relying upon somebody, but what if that person quits? Or what if something happens and they’re not able to be there? If you’re not willing or even able to do that specific job, who’s going to do it until you can find a replacement? It can become a liability to your practice and to your patients.
If there’s something that’s a vital part of your business process and you’re unwilling to do it, that’s not good! You should be willing and able to do anything in your business – and whether you do it poorly or really well is beside the point – the key is willingness. That willingness communicates to your team and reflects the fact that you are a genuine leader.
Good leaders are trained
Now, usually, when I see executives handling things poorly or making leadership mistakes, it comes back to a lack of understanding and knowledge. How much training have you had on the subject of being an executive? Chances are that’s limited to informal learning at dental conventions, from magazine articles or on-the-job learning. As a doctor, you’ve been thoroughly trained, hence you can practice dentistry. But you own a business too and that’s why you have to possess executive skills.
So, I’d recommend you get trained. I consider MGE the best in the industry when it comes to training executives, primarily doctors and Office Managers. We even train Treatment Coordinators and Public Relations Officers for a dental practice. In the long run, if you find you want to become a better leader, inspire your team, and bring your practice to greater heights, I recommend giving us a call at (800) 640-1140. There are a number of ways we can help. We train our clients on how to grow their businesses, so they practice the way they want, on their own terms.
I hope this helps. And as always, if you have any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (800) 640-1140. Until next time!