If you think of management as just the group of people at the top of an organization, you’re missing an important part of the word’s meaning. Management is actually the process of effectively dealing with or controlling staff, patients, paperwork, workflow and so on.
Good management and good control always involve a degree of expertise. Both terms imply that the control being exerted is positive and productive and not just control for control’s sake.
Positive control of your staff helps them focus on their jobs better, so they can achieve more results with their patients. Positive control of your organization means that you’re implementing the right systems and workflows, so that operations are smooth. Everyone knows what they are supposed to do and when. Staff coordinate their actions without effort, and more gets done. And your life is easier, which is also very important!
Let’s look at four vital management tips that help you reduce the effort and confusion involved in providing ideal levels of treatment and results for your kiddos.
Tip #1: Delegate
You will never be able to do it all yourself. Yes, nearly every Private Practice Owner has more experience than anyone else in their practice and they are more skilled. But you must have the time and attention available to create a culture and atmosphere that help staff, patients and their families thrive. You need to be able to think about the future and reach out into your community. If you’re running to Staples every week for copier paper, you’ll burn out.
Delegating is difficult because it is often easier and less time-consuming to do tasks yourself. If you fail to delegate, however, you’ll be stuck with those tasks forever. Your true job is being the owner, the chief policy- and decision-maker. So when you find yourself taking on tasks that should not be yours, take a few minutes to write up how those tasks should be done, select the best employee to take them on and train them how to do them the right way.
Tip #2: Get trained.
It might actually be hard for you to do tip #1 if you are not trained. The solution for that, of course, is to get trained. Then the functions that you should be doing and those that need to be delegated will be obvious to you. So get trained. Read books, take management courses, choose the best workshops and webinars and pay close attention. Then implement the best of what you have learned!
Tip #3: Write an employee handbook.
A good employee handbook can save you an enormous amount of time. You won’t have to answer the same questions a hundred times. You’ll be able to direct many staff to the Employee Handbook for the answers to their questions and you’ll no longer be the “go-to” person when your staff have questions. Plus you won’t be put on the spot for decisions when the points are already covered in the Employee Handbook. Here’s what should be included in your Employee Handbook:
- Basic procedures within the practice
- Rules of conduct
- Dress codes
- Holiday pay
- Vacation policies
- Hours of operation
When your policies are written, there’s so much less room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding. [Note: Labor law differs from state to state, so always have your legal advisor review an employee handbook before issuing it to staff.]
Tip #4: Find out where the fires are.
In any organization, the greatest numbers of upsets or emergencies tend to emanate from the same one or two staff, or from the same one or two procedural areas. You may have to keep a little list on your desk for a while to see where you have to repeatedly run to put out fires. If that’s what it takes, it’s time well spent.
When you have those individuals or areas identified, then it’s easier to know what to do. You can retrain those employees. Or you can refine, clarify or modify certain procedures or establish a new procedure if one is missing.
No matter how much this seems like extra work, it’s not. Instead of having 20 fires over a period of six months, you could have three, do the retraining or modification needed and then have none. Your time savings could be enormous.