“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
- Simon Sinek
According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, everyone is or should be striving for self-actualization, or a realization of their potential. As an administrator or manager of your medical practice, you oversee a lot of different functions, groups, and people. So, one of your most important jobs may be to help people find and achieve their full potential. Yes payroll, days in A/R, and putting out the latest fire is essential, but think of what could happen if every person understood the difference they could truly make in the office.
So how can you make this change in the office? You can start by leading more and managing less. George Bradt, senior contributor for Forbes, defines the difference between leading and managing as follows:
"Leaders influence. Managers direct. While it may not be that black and white, leaders generally do focus on what matters and why as managers focus on how. Both use different forms of influence and direction at different times. But leaders have a bias to influencing by inspiring and enabling through advice and counsel while managers have a bias to command and control."
How can you as an administrator or office manager have this influence and inspiring George Bradt is speaking of? Below are nine ways you can become a leader and influence those around you to achieve their full potential.
1). Set the Expectations
One of the first things you can do to start leading is making the hard decision and setting the expectations for everyone. Sit down with your employees and let them know what the expectations of their job are. If they don’t know what you are expecting, how can they achieve what you expect? Yes, a scheduler should understand that their job is to schedule appointments. But do they know all the demographic, insurance, and other information they need to gather before a patient comes into the office? Do they understand why getting this information over the phone is important? Do they know how scheduling an appointment effectively the first time can speed up the check-in process, reduce patient wait times, and improve clinic workflow?
Just as important as setting the expectations is communication. Take time each day to verify with your employees what their daily expectations are. Do both you and they understand what it is going to take to get everything done? Do you have all the resources allocated to the right tasks? Make sure everyone, including yourself, knows what is going on that day. For more tips on improving inter-office communication check out our blog post, Winning with Communication: 4 Ways to Improve Office Communication.
Don’t be the one that is always doing the talking. Be open to listening to the input of your employees. If someone isn’t meeting the expectations put forward, sit down and have a private conversation with them. Ask them why they are struggling and then sit back and listen. They are your frontline personnel. Maybe struggles are because of lack of training or understanding, or perhaps the processes you have in place aren’t the greatest. Continue to ask questions, but mostly listen. Try and get to the root of the issue so you can take care of the problem entirely and get progress back up to speed.
4). Be Trustworthy and Accountable
Your employees aren’t the only ones with expectations. You are the beacon that everyone is looking to for leadership. Live up to the expectations your employees have of you and that you have of yourself. Also, remember that you are human and will make mistakes. Be accountable and admit when your ideas or decisions may not have been the best. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes—take them and make something positive out it.
5). Be Open to New Ideas
Again, your employees are on the front line and see workflows in action on a day-to-day basis. Listen to their ideas on how to improve workflows. When making decisions that will affect departments or your clinic, ask for the input of employees. Their contribution can only help you make a better decision that is going to better the entire organization.
6). Empower Employees
Give employees every opportunity to better themselves. Is there a conference in town or site online that offers specialized training on just what their job duties entail? If the budget allows for it, send them to the training and ask them to report on what they learned and how they are going to implement what they learn. Help them set personal goals for their job and give them every resource you can to help them achieve them.
7). Be a Support
You may have specialized training to be in your position, but remember you started somewhere. Have an open door to your employees and let them know you are a resource from them to draw on when they are stuck or need a little help when completing a task.
8). Be an Example
Let your employees see your work. Don’t just go into your office, shut the door, and communicate through intercoms and messaging apps. Be out with your employees sharing your goals and reporting to them how things are going. Once they hear your reports, they will be more willing to open up and share where they are with you.
9). Be the Coach
One thing the greatest coaches do is find the strength of their athletes and put them in the best position possible for that particular strength to shine. Evaluate your employees and discover their strengths. Coach them to help develop their strengths. Give them every opportunity to shine within the office, and praise them when they do well.
Leading isn’t easy but it can have benefits that improve your life and the lives of your employees. If you can implement these nine attributes into your management, you can have great employees with great self-actualization. You can also have better office morale, higher staff retention and levels of productivity, more innovation and creativity, growing profits, better patient engagement, and most important a satisfying job.
Did we miss something or have you experienced something else from an influential leader? Let us know in the comment section below.