There is no “best way” to manage your staff. Effective managers have varying styles. What’s important is the ability to inspire confidence and the respect of your staff. A good manager leads by setting a good example. Being reasonable and fair all of the time, and being right most of the time, creates the trust you need. Here are some tips that can significantly improve staff and practice management.
Training your staff
Most physicians are skilled teachers. The nurses, techs, and medical assistants who work with your patients will all benefit from direct training by you or other physicians in your practice. Your office manager will also benefit from training in order to know what’s important to you. And nobody is better equipped to teach a receptionist the questions to ask patients and what their answers mean, and the appropriate tone of voice to have when answering the phone, than you or a fellow physician.
Taking the time to train your team can create loyalty to the practice and also help new employees more readily acclimate to your office environment and culture. It’s easier and more cost-effective to develop the talent you already have than to go out and find new talent. So keeping your staff motivated and happy about working in your office is key to attracting and retaining the most talented health care professionals.
It’s a good idea to schedule weekly meetings on a regular basis, not ad hoc. Run your meetings from a strict agenda, and stick to that agenda. Any new topics should be addressed at the next meeting so they do not distract from the business on hand. Schedule your meetings with a definite stopping point. Once the culture of your meetings is established, it will be easy to keep your staff on track.
Another technique is to have a morning “touch base” for 1 to 5 minutes, before seeing patients. Go over your game plan for the day and addresses timely issues, such as checking to see if any staff or other providers are absent, and, if so, who will cover for them.
It may seem obvious, but when you make out your call schedule, do your best to give each physician the same number of weekday and weekend calls. Or huddle everyone together to discuss what works best for everyone; some physicians may have their own ideas.
Treating your staff
You may or may not be comfortable treating your own staff. However, many physicians do treat their staff. The same precautions, such as having someone else in the room during certain exams, are appropriate when you’re treating them.
Remember, the greatest impact in any service organization, especially in health care, comes through interactions that patients, their family members, and others have with your staff. After all, your staff members are ambassadors for your practice’s brand.
- Borglum K. How to be a better manager, how to reduce training time for new employees. Modern Medicine Web site. November 20, 2009. http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Modern+Medicine+Now/How-to-be-a-better-manager-how-to-reduce-training-/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/643729.
- Deal L. Keeping everyone content and happy. Modern Medicine Web site. September 10, 2011. http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Modern+Medicine+Now/Keeping-everyone-content-and-happy/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/739135.
- Gosfield AG. Treating your staff. Modern Medicine Web site. September 10, 2011. http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Modern+Medicine+Now/Treating-your-staff/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/739114.
- Grensing-Pophal L. Branding your practice starts from inside. Modern Medicine Web site. July 25, 2011. http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Modern+Medicine+Now/Branding-your-practice-starts-from-inside/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/732451.
- La Penna AM. Conducting productive staff meetings. Modern Medicine Web site. August 10, 2011. http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Modern+Medicine+Now/Conducting-productive-staff-meetings/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/734930.