In a recent blog post, I discussed the value of building loyalty with your team. Setting clear expectations and staying consistent will earn your staff’s respect and keep them committed to you.
A big part of building loyalty comes from holding your team accountable. When even one staff member lacks accountability, it sets negative expectations for other employees that can upset the entire balance of your practice.
In Part 6 of this series, we talked about the importance of trusting your employees. However equally important is that your employees must also be able to trust you as a leader. They need to understand that you will stick to your core values and not be pushed around, or easily manipulated into bending your own rules.
Employees aren’t oblivious to the effects that slackness or poor attitudes have on the practice. Unfortunately, many of them won’t speak up because they don’t think it will do any good. Others may be reticent to say anything if they fear getting a negative or defensive response from you. Or worse, it might bring attention to their own shortcomings, and they’ll be forced to own up to their issues or make changes to how they work.
Your staff may not want to be held accountable themselves, but they do expect you to hold others accountable. Accountability can eliminate much of the hostility and resentment in the office and create a better place to work, but it must be done right.
Accountability is only achieved through two things: consistency and perspective.
Consistency means that you don’t let issues slip by your radar. You address issues as they occur and follow the same protocol with each employee to avoid feelings of favoritism. For any office to be truly successful, real, or implied favoritism cannot exist. Favoritism breeds an atmosphere of distrust and envy. This means that all rules need to be applied to everyone equally across the board.
It is important to have written policies in place which are clear so that everyone can be made aware of them in advance. Having things in writing makes it easy to follow a consistent path. The tangibility of having a written policy also takes away from the perception of individuals feeling like they are being picked on.
Inconsistency leads to unclear boundaries. When the staff is unclear, they will waste time constantly jockeying for position instead of completing job functions. If allowed, you will end up with a conflicted political environment instead of a productive and cohesive team.
Equally important is allowing employees to see things from your perspective, but your perspective must be both fair and even-handed. When they know your expectations, vision, mission, and needs, they’ll see why you can’t just let them off the hook.
Focusing on the way in which the task needs to be done as opposed to the person or “feelings” about it, brings everyone back to understand the overall core value system and what part they play in the bigger picture.
A good office staff needs to be happy, and eager to give their best attention to the patient. I of course don't advocate a free for all, devil may care approach to office operations, but as counter intuitive as it may seem, happiness in the office comes from having a business-like attitude about the work at hand. When employees feel that they are contributing to a well-run machine they will respond with satisfaction, and a feeling of accomplishment.
Your team will be more likely to give every task their best effort and take responsibility for their failures when they understand what the expectation is and how to achieve success.
My latest master course covers how to handle problem-solving and accountability issues. In Part 9, we’ll talk about how to use constructive feedback when holding your staff accountable and solving problems in your practice.
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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