Think Like a Doctor, Part 5: Delegate Authority, Not Just Tasks

Uncategorized Oct 18, 2019

Are you delegating authority in your Periodontal practice, or just work? 

There’s a big difference here that isn’t often discussed, but it’s critical to recognize why it matters which one you’re handing your employees and how they perceive it. 

If you want your staff to think more like you (which is the entire purpose of this 10-part series), then it’s essential to understand how they view their roles and responsibilities and whether it aligns with the way you want them to treat their roles and responsibilities.

Authority vs Tasks

The phrase “too many queens, not enough ants” usually gets a bad rap. It means there are too many leaders and not enough people to pull the weight and complete the chores.  Why would you need nine leaders to manage a staff of nine people? 

Or… Maybe you don’t have enough leaders. Without leadership, work gets done, but it’s a matter of simply just going through the motions instead of focusing on the importance and significance of the mission. When you go through the motions without reason, the quality of the outcome suffers.

So, let’s flip the script for a moment and say that “too many” leaders can be a good thing, as long as everyone is clear on what role they play and the significance of it.  Empowerment stems from being sure about why they are doing the task at hand and understanding the reason behind it.

When the staff is empowered to make decisions and take control of situations, they’re not only taking the responsibility off your plate, but also uphold the mission and vision of the practice. They transform from paid employees to engaged leaders and start taking ownership of their responsibilities. 

Now, you go from having to tell your team what to do and how to do it to working with bona fide leaders who are the best at doing what they do. They aren’t just order takers, but rather a living, breathing part of your practice that pushes you closer to your goals.

How to Turn Staff into Decision Makers

Could your practice use a few more leaders, or are there too many leaders butting heads?  Ideally, everyone on your team can become a leader in their own way.  Leaders aren't created by job title alone, but rather by their actions, thinking, and interactions with others. 

Leadership starts with understanding the significance of the mission and the reason behind why you are doing what you are doing.

Efforts with purpose.

Find ways to assign leadership roles to your team. It could be heading up a meeting or planning an event.  In order to trust them to make good decisions, you must be very clear about what you expect and why it’s necessary.

Let them learn through their mistakes and experiences and encourage them to be problem solvers. Start by letting them practice on tasks that won’t put patients at risk, then slowly delegate more as they develop your trust.

Most importantly, lead by example.  You want your staff to think like you, so show them how to be an effective leader by being one yourself. 

Leadership skills are developed over time, not overnight.  The more you make it a priority in your practice, the sooner you can start working alongside empowered leaders rather than employees who are simply pulling levers and pushing buttons without good reason. 

Much of your ability to create leaders is developed through trust, which we’re covering in Part 6 of this series.  In the meantime, look at the previous blogs in this series if you haven’t already.

PANDA Perio now offers a master course for easy implementation. This enhanced course is called “How to teach your staff to think like a doctor." We utilize the regular training components of PANDA College and incorporate an extra 10 step series to help strategize implementation in less time by showing you how the team thinks and what they need to know in order to effectively get the inside scoop about how you think. This strategy puts everyone on the same page and empowers your staff, in turn, creating cohesiveness and lowered stress.  We also offer the standard full course curriculum that comes free with purchase on any license of PANDA Perio.  

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