You don’t answer your own office phone or schedule appointments. You don’t send appointment reminders or collection letters. This is exactly as it should be. Your team handles everything including office, and auxiliary care-related tasks while you treat patients. At some point, you’re going to have to trust them to make the right decisions, however, doing this too soon will likely cause your practice to go in the wrong direction.
It’s hard to trust someone with important tasks or to make decisions when you see them make mistakes or do things differently from how you would do them yourself. After all, your name is on the door, and it's your name that will be associated with both good, and poor outcomes, but the poor outcomes are detrimental to your livelihood.
So, at what point do you need to turn over important business activities to your staff? When do you let them start handling the problems that a well-trained, and competent staff should be doing on their own?
Inevitably there will come a time when you must let go of the reins due to the sheer volume of tasks that accumulate from running a busy practice. Ideally, you will be able to groom them before incidents creep up, and missteps happen. It’s better to know you can trust them because inevitably they will, at some point face a decision or step in the process that they will be unsure of. You don't want them to second guess themselves or worse, make the wrong call.
So, how do you get to trusted and competent staff before it’s too late?
Obviously, you wouldn’t knowingly hire someone if you didn’t think you could trust them. You can’t constantly stand over someone’s shoulder as they work because your focus must be on treating patients.
At some point, you’re going to have to believe both in your employees will, and their ability to make good business decisions on your behalf.
Setting clear expectations from the start that align with your practice values, will create an environment and culture with clear boundaries. Patience with the staff during staff meetings and training sessions is imperative to YOUR success as well as your employee’s success including their own feelings of both competences, and confidence.
Empowering them early coupled with clear expectations will give them confidence. Both are critical to their personal development. When they see you believe they can operate autonomously, they will be less likely to act impulsively for fear of making a mistake.
As their leader, the first step falls on you to develop employee autonomy, and this happens when you set attainable and clear expectations.
Once you know you can trust them, their personal performance will either exercise their right to continue working autonomously or reveal opportunities for improvement.
Employees are going to make mistakes, but many of these mistakes are learned by allowing them to make up the solutions as they go without having the opportunity to learn new alternatives that can only come from you. Lax expectations and a feeling of not knowing your requirements will affect your bottom line.
Successfully working independently is best achieved when employees can see things from your perspective. The worst thing you can do is try to protect them from your reality. Instead, let them see the implications you face if their job isn’t done correctly. A walk in your shoes will help to eliminate friction going forward and make trust even more valuable.
In Part 7, we’re covering how to encourage independent problem-solving.
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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