12.16.11 Issue #510 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Is Being "In Charge" Worth the Stress?
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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So you're the Boss. It's not exactly an enviable position. After all, you have to be chief production officer, human resources expert, interpersonal relations guru, and while you're at it, you also have to lead, inspire, motivate, reward, and discipline. Oh the joys of being in charge. Is it any wonder that many dentists struggle with this unenviable role?

They bumble along on a trial and error course. Some strategies work for a while and then suddenly seem to fail altogether.There's no explanation as far as you can see for what works and what doesn't. The only thing you know is that you didn't sign onto this dentistry gig just to continually worry about who's going to serve up their two-week's notice next, to be mediator between the warring factions on the team, or manage one patient complaint after another.

Certainly, life as the Big Kahuna is not easy. There are enormous expectations and demands. Far too many dentists experience and cause an enormous amount of stress in their practices because they have never been trained to lead their teams. While a few are natural born leaders, the vast majority spend far too many years and waste tens of thousands of dollars trying to simply figure it out as they go along. Answer the questions below andconsider honestly if you are a significant contributor to stress and anxiety in your own practice.

Has one or more of your employees left for another job in the past 12-18 months? If employees seem to come and go with the seasons, chances are that you're not exactly an easy person to work for. And putting an end to constant turnover in the practice is reason enough to care about your skills as the leader of your team. Improving your leadership abilities enables you to build a much more cohesive and successful team.

When it comes to working effectively with staff, the most successful bosses are solid “tough love” supervisors. They provide clear guidelines, necessary training, plenty of praise, and corrective measures when necessary.

Do you create an environment and a culture for success?
If so, you set clear, challenging goals and specific expectations for your team. You explain the “why” behind the “what.” You don’t just tell employees what to do; you clarify why their responsibilities are important to the overall success of the practice. You monitor the team’s progress in achieving goals through regular staff meetings, system checks, and performance reviews. You celebrate and reward success.

Do you set your employees up to succeed?
If so, you work with individuals and the team as a whole to define realistic goals that encourage the team to work at peak performance. You also invest in training for employees to maximize their potential.

Do you establish clear standards?
If so, there is a code of conduct in the office, specific office policies, and business standards that everyone must follow.

Do you communicate clearly and specifically?
If so, you recognize that if you don't communicate your desires, clearly no one can be held responsible except you when those desires aren't met.

Are you decisive?
If so, you make the decisions that have to be made, even when they are difficult. Too many dentists will avoid making critical decisions, such as firing an employee who is bringing down both the team and the practice. Certainly, a major decision such as terminating a staff member requires careful evaluation, but too often the doctor simply continues to look the other way, burdening the team and compromising the practice.

Is listening a part of your management strategy?
If so, you seek input from the team. Listen and learn from your employees, encourage their input, and use the collective intelligence of the group to address system problems and concerns.

Do you provide ongoing constructive feedback?
If so, you are generous with your positive feedback, you ensure that it is sincere, and when possible, you give it in front of others. You are constructive with your negative feedback. You provide it in private and use it as a precise instructional tool. You don't mix positive and negative feedback because the employee will only focus on the negative and the positive will mean nothing.

Like dentistry, being the boss is challenging. Just as maximizing your skills as a superior clinician requires ongoing training, oftentimes achieving your full potential as a leader requires additional training and assistance as well.

Want more of me? Click here to visit my blog, The Lighter Side, for more Dental Practice Management info.

Interested in speaking to Sally about your practice concerns? Email her at sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com. Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.

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