Creating Better Managers in Your Medical Practice

June 27, 2013

A few tips on evaluating your office manager or department managers.

How do you evaluate your office manager or department managers? Many offices we have worked with were relying on the physicians or practice owners to evaluate department managers or office managers.  In other words, they rely on feedback from up the chain and not down the chain. Feedback from up the chain of command is important, but feedback from the people who the manager actually manages is far more useful.

When you use upward feedback (feedback from the ground up) you make it harder to be a bad manager in your practice, whether your practice is large or small. You should utilize this type of survey at least twice per year (some larger clinics may want to use to do this once per quarter and keep the records for review during the annual job review of each manager).

There are a number of ways to survey your staff for upward feedback, you can use an online service such as Survey Monkey or Google or you can print a sheet of paper and have them fill it out. The nice thing about Survey Monkey’s or Google’s service is that the results are calculated for you.

When creating the survey for your clinic, make sure you include instructions and how the survey will be used. Reassure the employees taking the survey that the information will be used in the manager or supervisor’s annual review, and the collective results will be shared with the manager in an anonymous way. Include in the instructions that the person taking the survey should be “candid and frank “ in their responses.

There are a vast number of items you can include on this type survey, and there may be some competencies you would like to include that are specific to your practice. I encourage our clients to keep it less than 20 questions (on a 0-5 ranking scale) to keep the employee engaged through the end of the survey.

Some of the broad competency categories and specific evaluation traits you can choose, including:

1. Leadership:
Supports others to accomplish objectives

Expects, communicate, encourages quality performance from others.
Builds constructive relationships and encourages learning

Recognizes and rewards good ideas in others
Is proactive, anticipating problems

Effectively plans solutions with thoughtfulness

Encourages teamwork

2. Communication

Communicates clearly and promptly

Communicates honestly and constructively

Shares information openly

Is receptive to constructive criticism

3. Technical Knowledge

Possess necessary skills and knowledge

Is able to provide technical assistance as needed

  • Organizational Knowledge

Understands and acts according to polices, practices, and procedures

5. Patient Focus
Identifies and responds to patient needs

Is committed to patient safety

Is committed to patient satisfaction

Treats patients with respect and integrity

Each question you will ask the employee to rate in two ways:

1. “On a scale of 0-5, with 0 indicating ‘no value’ and 5 indicating ‘high value,’ how highly do you value this trait?”

2. “On a scale of 0-5, with N/A indicating you had no opportunity to observe this trait, 1 indicating ‘not well’ and 5 indicating ‘very well,’ how well did your manager meet your needs on each trait?”

At the end of the survey, include a section where the employees can add an additional constructive comments or praise.

With these tools in hand you can then review the manager from “both sides of the fence” in their annual review, and constructively improve their managerial skills or determine if they are possibly not the right fit for your office. For most managers/supervisors, knowing g the information included in this type of survey, and knowing how their management of employees is actually experienced by their employees, is enough to cause positive changes in their behavior. Better management means better experiences for providers, patients, employees, and managers.