There is no blueprint available that will detail how you should effectively manage your staff. Successful supervisors have varying styles, and you should adopt an approach that suits your needs and personality while creating the appropriate atmosphere for your office. Whichever manner you implement, the goal is the same: inspire the confidence and respect of your staff. Set a good example by consistently being reasonable and fair. Really listen to your employees and, as in life outside the office, empathize with their concerns. This will generate the trust you require to build the practice you desire. Following are some tips that can significantly improve staff and practice management.

Training your staff

Being a physician, you have experience as a teacher. Your staff will all benefit from direct training by you or other physicians in your practice. This is true not only for matters directly related to your patients, but in how your office is run day to day. Your office manager will benefit from training because he or she will know what’s important to you. And you are the most suitable person to train your receptionist on how to ask patients pertinent questions and to understand what their answers mean, in addition to the proper tone of voice when they speak on the phone.

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There are additional benefits to taking this approach. Personally training your staff will create loyalty to your practice in addition to helping new employees more readily acclimate to your office environment and culture. It’s simpler and more cost-effective to develop the talent you already have than to search out new employees. Maintaining staff morale will develop an environment that enables you to attract and retain the most talented health care professionals.

Treating your staff

Many physicians treat their own staff, but do not feel pressured. If you are not comfortable interacting with your staff in this way, then don’t. However, if you do, the same precautions taken with other patients, such as having another person in the room during certain exams, are appropriate and should always be followed.


Establish weekly staff meetings. This is as important for your employees as it is for you.  Create an atmosphere where the staff feels comfortable addressing any issues at hand. However, avoid the temptation to let the meetings turn into freeform discussions.  Create a strict agenda and stick to it. Any new topics raised should be addressed at the next meeting so they do not distract from the business on hand. Schedule your meetings with a firm stopping point, such as the start of patient appointments or the beginning of lunch. Once the culture of your meetings is established, it will be easy to keep your staff on track.

To address pressing matters, institute a short “touch base” every morning before seeing patients. Go over your game plan for the day and tackle timely issues, such as coverage for absent staff members.

Remember that you are responsible for establishing the office atmosphere. Small steps can make a large difference in creating the office that you want.


  1. Borglum K. How to be a better manager, how to reduce training time for new employees. Modern Medicine Web site. November 20, 2009.
  2. Deal L. Keeping everyone content and happy. Modern Medicine Web site. September 10, 2011.
  3. Gosfield AG. Treating your staff. Modern Medicine Web site. September 10, 2011.
  4. Grensing-Pophal L. Branding your practice starts from inside. Modern Medicine Web site. July 25, 2011.
  5. La Penna AM. Conducting productive staff meetings. Modern Medicine Web site. August 10, 2011.