The trouble with the rat race is even if you win you’re still a rat.
How busy are you?
Can’t get everything done?
Are you putting in longer and longer hours for uncompensated work?
No time for long range planning and strategy?
Let’s face facts. You have A LOT to do. Your responsibilities extend to patients, employees, family, and community. It’s likely that you’re good at organizing. An effective task-master. You do things well and you get things done. But if the weight of your workload has become burdensome, it may be that you are living to work…rather than working to live.
Time is a precious commodity. There is never enough. The solution is learning to delegate. In fact it’s something that most people are never taught. After all your success has depended on what you did. Now find yourself with employees reporting to you. So get them more involved in the work.
It may be that you understand this on an objective or cognitive level but you’re worried that things won’t get done correctly. On the opposite side of the spectrum, delegation doesn’t mean abdicating authority. Ultimately you are still responsible for what happens in your office. The goal is to find ways to get things done without having to do it all yourself.
The first step is facing your fears about delegating, and evaluating those beliefs rationally. Here are some common reasons leaders fail to delegate.
- I don’t have time to explain this to someone else.
Teaching and sharing information can feel like one more thing you have to do. But the short tem investment of time will pay off in big long term dividends. Train your employees so they know what you want them to do. Certainly this doesn’t make sense if the task or project is unique, something you will only do once. But if the work is performed on an ongoing basis, then it makes sense to teach someone else to do it. Once they are up to speed, you will begin to reap the rewards in time saved.
- I can do this better than anyone in my office.
This probably is true. You’re successful because you do things well. But ask yourself – and be honest – do you have unrealistic standards? Frequently it’s more important that the task is done, not that it’s done perfectly. When you delegate to your staff, you empower them. By teaching and developing them, you are instilling trust. Trust breeds loyalty and loyalty leads to greater productivity.
- I don’t want to give up control.
There are different levels of delegation. You don’t want to relinquish control for the most important tasks. For example, you might ask an employee to research the new billing software you are interested in purchasing. Tell them what you need to know and let them do the footwork then report back to you. Even better, have your employee evaluate the costs and benefits of different vendors and provide you with their recommendation for moving forward. Of course you want to set a time limit and check on the project periodically.
- I can’t afford to hire someone else.
Although practice overhead might be high, consider the amount of money you could generate if you had more time. Spending money actually can make you money. Hour for hour, your fees are much greater than an administrative employee. Think about what it really costs you to do inventory of the supply room. Now that’s expensive! In the long run, hiring someone to free you of time makes good financial sense. Plus you’ll have the added benefits of more time to spend with your family or friends. That can make a big difference in the quality of your life.
The productivity in your office is the direct result of consistent training and coaching. Unless you delegate tasks to employees, your team will become inefficient and demoralized. Develop the skills in your staff. You’ll do them and yourself a favor!
Next article: How to delegate effectively
Dr. Haller is available to coach you to higher levels of performance in your practice. Contact her at email@example.com.
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