This is What Your Office Manager Needs to Succeed

By Sally McKenzie, CEO Printer Friendly Version

Dentists tend to feel pretty relieved when they decide to hire an Office Manager. Finally, someone else can take on the business side of running the practice, handle HR issues and lead marketing efforts. These dentists envision improved practice efficiencies and more time in their schedule to focus on providing exceptional patient care. Unfortunately, that relief turns to anxiety when the new team member doesn’t meet expectations.

Often, dentists rush the hiring process and end up with an Office Manager who doesn’t have the temperament or skillset needed for the role. This is a difficult job that not everyone can handle, and that shows when dentists want to take the path of least resistance and opt to promote a loyal employee. This once reliable team member who quickly knows she/he is not in ‘their element’, crashes and burns, sometimes damaging the practice rather than improving it.

Going through the proper hiring process will help ensure you find the right person for the position, but it doesn’t end there. You need to set your new Office Manager up for success. Even the most talented Office Managers will struggle and ultimately fail if they’re left to figure it all out on their own. Want to avoid that scenario? I thought so. Read on to learn about what every Office Manager needs to truly thrive:

A detailed job description. I know. You probably think job descriptions are a waste of time, especially if you hire someone with experience. That’s simply not true. Job descriptions outline exactly what employees are responsible for and make your expectations clear. They serve as a road map for success and are critical for every position in the practice—including the Office Manager. Take the time to create a detailed job description and you’ll have a more efficient, confident Office Manager who can help you move the practice forward.

The right training. It doesn’t matter how much experience your Office Manager has or how talented she is, you have to provide proper training if you want her to be successful. If you expect your Office Manager to learn on the job without any guidance, you’re going to be disappointed with the results. This new team member will feel lost, causing stress and frustration for everyone.

And while you might think skipping training will save you money, it actually can be pretty costly. Without proper training, the Office Manager must try to figure everything out on her own, wasting time. This means she isn’t as efficient as she could be, and tasks you expected her to complete still aren’t getting done. When that happens, revenues start to take a hit as does team morale.

Many dentists aren’t comfortable training Office Managers, so they don’t, and that leads to problems. The good news? There are outside courses that can help, like the one I offer through McKenzie Management. Office Managers learn everything they need to know to be successful during my Office Manager Training Course. After they complete the course, they bring more energy to the role and have the confidence they need to excel.

The ability to effectively lead. Your Office Manager needs to not only be comfortable working with people, but also leading them. Leadership courses and education can help Office Managers who don’t excel at this naturally.

Office Managers deal with difficult situations on a regular basis. They often have to discipline other team members, for example, and are the first point of contact when any issues arise. The ability to lead people through difficult situations is critical and is a skill that can be developed through leadership training.

The freedom to make decisions. You should think of your Office Manager as your managing partner rather than another employee, which means you have to give up some control and trust this person to effectively handle the job. Know this valuable team member will involve you when necessary and understand you don’t need to be part of every decision. You hired an Office Manager because you wanted to let go of some responsibilities, after all, so let go. You can use the extra time to focus more on providing patients with an exceptional experience and top-notch care, fueling practice growth.

An affinity for both numbers and people. If your Office Manager doesn’t have the right temperament, it will lead to trouble in your practice. The person you hire for this role should be just as comfortable working with numbers as working with people and shouldn’t have a problem taking on a variety of tasks, from managing business measurements to handling HR issues. If your Office Manager can’t handle both effectively, it will make everyone in the office miserable and the practice will suffer.

How do you ensure the candidate you hire has the necessary temperament for the role? I suggest you give temperament tests before making an offer. If you find the person you’re considering doesn’t have the right personality type, it’s probably time to move on to another candidate.

Office Managers can bring a lot of benefits to a practice, including improving efficiencies and reducing your stress level. The key is finding the right person and then taking the necessary steps to set that person up for success. Following these tips will help ensure you do.

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