Every Office Manager needs these 5 things to succeed

By Sally McKenzie, CEO Printer Friendly Version

Bringing on an Office Manager is supposed to make your life easier and your practice more efficient. Yet, many dentists end up regretting their hiring decision. The person they thought would ease their burden and handle the business side of running the practice is only causing frustration and extra stress for everyone on the team—and damaging the practice in the process.

An Office Manager can bring many benefits to a practice, but only if the person has the proper skillset and temperament for the role. This employee must take on a wide range of responsibilities that requires him/her to be good at working with both numbers and people. If the person you hire is lacking in one of those areas, it will only lead to problems for your practice.

Finding the right person is vital, which means it’s not a good idea to simply promote your star employee and call it a day. Going through the proper hiring process will help ensure you hire someone who can handle the role, and taking the necessary steps to set them up for success will enable them to live up to your expectations. With that in mind, I’ve put together the top five things every Office Manager must have to excel:

1. A detailed job description. As much as most dentists hate the idea of crafting job descriptions, they really do serve as a road map to success for your employees—and the Office Manager is no exception. It doesn’t matter if the person you hire has years of experience working as an Office Manager in a top dental office. This new employee still needs to know how you envision the Office Manager role. The job description should include a list of responsibilities, necessary skillset, your expectations and performance measurements.

2. Proper job training. This is a big one. All too often, dentists opt to skip training their Office Manager. They’ve hired this person to take on tasks they’d rather avoid, and convince themselves the new employee can easily learn on the job. Not so. Expecting your Office Manager to just hit the ground running without any guidance from you will only lead to confusion and frustration. Your Office Manager won’t be nearly as effective as she should be, and the tasks you hired her to complete simply won’t get done.

The truth is, not training your Office Manager can be pretty costly. A lot of time is wasted as this important employee tries to navigate the role on her own, and that leads to lost revenues while also hurting team morale. Most dentists aren’t comfortable training their Office Manager, and that’s OK. Outside classes can help. I offer an Office Manager Training Course through McKenzie Management. Here, Office Managers learn everything they need to know to be successful. The course gives them more confidence and improves their efficiency, which of course benefits your practice.

3. The ability to lead. Your Office Manager will serve as your Chief Operating Officer, and must be comfortable not only working with people, but also leading them. This comes naturally for some, but others need a little extra help through training courses and education.

Remember, your Office Manager must be comfortable dealing with difficult issues and not afraid to discipline other team members when necessary. As the first point of contact for patients and team members when issues arise, she/he must be good at problem solving and leading people through difficult situations. Leadership training can help master that.

4. Your trust. Your Office Manager can’t be effective if you don’t trust her/him to do the job. When you bring an Office Manager on, you have to be ready to give up some control. Don’t expect to be involved in every decision. Let this new team member do what you hired her/him to do. Trust the right decisions will be made and will only involve you when necessary. This will free you up to do other things, enabling you to focus on what you truly love while also making your days less stressful.

I suggest you think of your Office Manager as a managing partner, not just another employee. This will show that you’re confident in her/his ability to handle the practice’s business and HR tasks, and knowing you have that kind of trust will help to make her/him more effective.

5. The right temperament. The person you hire must be comfortable working with both numbers and people. They must be able to work under pressure and handle a variety of tasks, from tackling HR issues to managing the practice’s business measurements. If she/he can’t, they’ll be miserable, as will the rest of the team. Giving temperament tests will help ensure any candidates you’re considering have the right personality for the job.

Finding an efficient, effective Office Manager can be a difficult task. You need to know what skills and temperament to look for, and then provide the person you hire with the tools needed to succeed. Following these tips will help ensure you hire the best person for the job and then set that person up to excel, leading to a more efficient, profitable practice.

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Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
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