It's summer. For a reality T.V. fan like me, it's a quiet season. I understand that the inaugural ‘Survivor' series will be shown again on some cable network. Fortunately, I am not addicted enough to watch it a second time. So television viewing is limited to re-runs and obscure movies…and infomercials. Plenty of infomercials.
As I was flipping channels recently I became aware of just how many promises are made in the name of sales. This was particularly true for exercise equipment and merchandise. Imagine, a machine that can get you flat abs in less than two weeks! A video that gives ‘buns of steel' in a month!!
We live in an age of speed. From drive-through food establishments to internet connectivity, we have come to expect everything to be fast, fast, faster.
I experience this with clients, especially those who are eager to engage in coaching because there's a crisis in their practice.
Hello, this is Dr. Haller. How can I help you?
Dr. Smith: I have a dental assistant who's driving me crazy. She's nuts, really! And now the front office person has quit and I know it's because of Susie. She thinks she's being friendly and helping the practice but it's just that she needs to be liked the best. Today she interrupted me three times when I was talking to a patient.
NH: How long has this been going on?
Dr. Smith: At least five years. I can't stand it anymore.
NH: Wow…five years is a long time. What's stopped you from letting her go up until now?
Dr. Smith: When I bought this practice five years ago, she was part of the deal. I'm afraid that I'll lose patients if she leaves.
NH: Sounds like you're being held hostage in your own office.
Dr. Smith: You nailed that one. I need some pointers on how to straighten her out or get rid of her. I can only put up with this for another month. Can you help me?
ONE MONTH!?! The situation has been brewing for FIVE YEARS!
Make no mistake about it, inheriting a staff is imbedded with unique challenges. However, the real problem here is the expectation that there's a quick fix . I am not an attorney but I am familiar with employment law. And at least in California , giving a pink slip to an employee without options for performance improvement opens you up to a potential lawsuit.
For Dr. Smith, the underlying need is not to fix Susie but to enhance his leadership. The job of being the ‘boss' is more than giving orders. For many dentists, the process of going from expert professional to novice leader is a stretch outside their range of experience.
The good news is that effective leaders are made, not born . Just like the training you would pursue to learn a new dental procedure or the use of a new product, leadership skills can be acquired with information and rehearsal. That takes time . The implant course at NYU is a 9 month hands-on program. Doesn't it make sense that learning to be a more effective leader should take at least as long?
The potential to become a good or better leader is well within your capability. Leadership is about improving yourself and in that process you also strengthen your business. It may require you to modify some of your behaviors, or learn new ways of responding to staff. It is likely to be uncomfortable at times.
Everyone can learn to lead…it just takes dedication, practice AND TIME.
Improve your bottom-line with patience, commitment and coaching. Contact Dr. Haller at email@example.com .
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