I am an office manager in a dental office. My bosses and I have a completely different opinion of what an office manager should be. I work at the front desk with multiple duties. I am not allowed to make even the smallest decisions. What I am allowed to do is make notes of all the discrepancies of my fellow coworkers. I have been told I am not their buddy. I think I can effectively manage this office by being both a mentor and a friend. I would very much like to know what your opinion is with the little information that I have given you.
P. S I am the oldest in the practice, including the Doctors. I don’t know if this has any bearing or not.
The term “office manager” has no set definition by industry standards. You can have one person at the front office that is not “managing” anything. On the other hand, you can have an office manager that over sees 25+ employees. I think it was probably a mistake to bestow that title on you without a defined job description. I would suggest that you go to your employer(s) and ask for a defined job description. The title is not the job but the job description is the job. From that list of duties and responsibilities, you can then decide if this is a job you want to keep.
On the hand, I would not over looks the “real” reason of why they are not allowing you to make decisions. Bosses….now that is a problem. Multiple partners that have difficulty coming up with majority rule or unanimous decisions is usually a can of worms. One or more can have trust issues which may mean they will never allow you to make decisions.
There is a fine line in managing people and being their friend. I agree with your bosses that employees are not your friends. Look at it this way. If one were to win the lottery tomorrow, they are gone, adios. Employees need to know that you care about them and you trust them but I agree in terms of my definition of being a buddy that you can’t be a CEO, a COO, a manager do social things outside of the office (not that you said that) and then turn around do a performance review on them. This is all part of Human Resource training which generally there is none of in a dental office. A loyal employee with lots of dental experience is granted the title of Office Manager and she/he has had no experience or training on human resources.
Again, I encourage you to have a face to face meeting and insist that they define and provide you with a clear job description so you are able to make an informed decision if this is the job for you.
Hope this helps,