As a practice owner, you should be asking yourself the following questions objectively:
- Am I a good leader?
- Do I run from conflict?
- Am I able to motivate my staff?
- Is my office harmonious or is it filled with conflict?
- Does my staff “own” their jobs, or do they just punch in and out?
- Do I ever feel that my staff is “holding me hostage”?
- Am I running my practice? …or is my practice running me?
Did you answer any of those questions favorably? If you’re like the average practice owner, the answer is no. That’s because, like most doctors, you were not trained in leadership and executive skills. Consequently, you will often find yourself in management situations in which you lack certainty about what to do. Insufficient leadership could easily result in poor staff performance, unhappy patients, needless stress and lost income.
Maxim: The Morale of the Staff Is Based Upon Their Individual and Office Production.
Believe it or not, most staff members want to do a good job. They want to improve and they like being acknowledged for a job well done. When one produces a good product, it’s a reflection of his competence. Demonstration of competence raises anyone’s morale. As a leader, you have the opportunity to foster an environment that can bring about ever-increasing competence and morale.
So, how does one become a good leader? Is leadership a personality trait with which only a few are blessed? No! Leadership skills are taught and, with practice, can be put successfully into daily use.
The first quality a good leader has to have is the ability to confront situations, i.e., to face up to them. If you are the type of owner who runs and hides from conflict and staff problems, then you need some improvement in this area. First, decide that you are going to face up to the problem. Simply take a moment and make the decision; this is very helpful.
Next, grab someone — a friend, your spouse or a colleague — and roleplay the problem. Have that person play the part of the troublesome individual, hitting you hard with backtalk, new problems, can’t-be-dones, etc. Be sure to do the drill until you find that you are more confident and even feel somewhat excited to try out your new skills and presentation. You will be surprised at how easily the situation will resolve once you do this. Keep in mind that your staff can’t and won’t follow if you don’t lead.
It is very important for you to maintain excellent communication with your staff and to provide demonstrable leadership.
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