This article originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of The Monthly Shift. To recieve The Monthly Shift directly to your inbox sign up for our email newsletter.
We can all agree 2020 was a year that no one expected. We all got pushed outside our comfort zone. In the spirit of inspiring you to continue growing and pushing outside your comfort zone, I’d like to share with you a snippet from one of my favourite books The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey:
“The world is changing so fast, and if we don't change with it we are going to find ourselves ill-equipped to deal with anything. If you want to become more hopeful, more driven by integrity and honesty, there have to be adaptations occurring all the time that push you completely outside your comfort zone, you have to be a great fighter, and that in a sense is what it means to be resilient in life, to actually understand that adaptations are a fact of life and that discomfort is a necessary companion."
One of the most important skills in life is the ability to be comfortably uncomfortable while staying focused and determined to achieve your goals.
As the leader of your dental or medical practice pushing outside your comfort zone is not only an important factor in your personal growth but for your business as well. It’s only natural to avoid discomfort and to keep doing what you are comfortable with. However, if you want to grow your practice, you need to work on your personal growth first.
To be a true leader, you need to open up to new experiences, new ways of thinking and believe in your ability to achieve your big goals and dreams.
Med school did not teach you how to manage staff
I’m sure you heard this before, successful clinics have a good team full of stars. But how to develop a team full of stars?
Start with finding the right staff (experience/attitude/work ethics) and hope everything works out. The problem with this approach is finding good staff is hard, and if you are lucky enough to find good staff, but you are a poor manager, your staff will not be successful. Good management is one of the hardest things to do and if done poorly will result in stress, low morale, low productivity and low profits.
Managing employees is a skill and an art, and in order to master this skill, you need to invest in learning. I see many offices delegate this function to the office manager and in many cases, this person excels in greeting patients and managing the schedule however, they don’t have the skills or training to manage staff and develop stars.
The How The way I see it is managing staff is a function that should be shared between the leader\owner and the office manager. Some management tasks could be done by the office manager and others will have to be done by the owner. Both need to invest in learning the skill and develop systems. Your office manager should enjoy working with people and want to continue to learn or she is in the wrong seat.
Coming up with good systems is the result of spending time focusing on solutions to problems. Once the solutions are sufficiently explored, they need to be documented and presented to the team.
I recorded a video on how Trainual can help you document your systems and ensure everyone knows what to do in your office
Don’t shy away from difficult conversations As a leader of your dental practice, you have to have the ability and skill to "confront" situations and have those difficult conversations with your team.
When having a difficult conversation focus on fixing the problem and not blaming the person. Before walking into a difficult situation, make sure its the right time, be ready to listen and check your ego at the door. The goal of having a difficult conversation is to get to the right solution not proving you are right. By always looking for solutions you will solve most of the problems. However, if all comes of difficult conversations is shame-and-blame, the problems will not go away and you will find yourself fighting fires all the time.
If your office manager cannot handle having difficult conversations with the staff then she should not be a manager. As this is the required skills for a manager. Keep this in mind when hiring or promote staff to a manager role
So, invest in yourself and manager, create systems, solve problems and repeat If you do this well you will have a champion team not a team of champions.