Ten Easy Ways to be a Better Leader in Your Medical Practice

April 10, 2014

Physicians and administrators can significantly improve their leadership skills by making these small changes.

Are you a practice manager or provider with the duty of leading your clinic? Take note of these strategies to improve your leadership skills:

1. Get out from behind your desk. Step outside of your office frequently. In order to ensure that your staff and clinic are functioning properly, you must move through the clinic and observe/interact several times a day. Interacting with the staff, physicians, and patients is vital to maintain a healthy practice environment, and it is the only way to know what is going on in your clinic.

2. Answer phone calls and e-mails, and return messages. It really is just common courtesy and shouldn’t need a reminder, but all too often, staff members complain that they field calls all day that the manager hasn’t returned. In some cases it may be appropriate for a provider to have the nurse return a call for him but the nurse must follow through.

3. Enforce strict no-gossip policies. Gossip is like cancer to an office. Make a formal policy addition to the employee handbook prohibiting gossip. Ensure that you avoid adding to or stirring gossip up in the office.

4. Get your hands dirty. The office manager should know how to perform every job in the office, and do it with some degree of efficiency and expertise (excluding duties prohibited by license).  If there are some tasks you aren’t trained to do (for instance, taking blood pressure) ask your staff to train you. They will respect you for it.

5. Market your practice. There are numerous avenues for office managers and/or physicians to pursue networking opportunities with other practices. Networking allows you to market your practice to other offices and gain new referral avenues.

If you are too busy in the office to get out in the field or feel a little lost on how to market your practice, utilize a DIY marketing training program (specific for medical practices), or try hiring a done-for-you marketing firm for assistance. DIY training starts around $2,500 for a complete training and support course and done-for-you can be found for $1,500 per month or less.

6. Lead by example. Demonstrate respect, hard work, gratitude, kindness, professional dress, proper work ethic, and timeliness.

7. Promote collaboration. Hold team and department meetings and encourage communication between staff members, departments, and management. During these meetings promote problem solving, seek consensus about group decisions, and channel conflict toward positive outcomes.

8. Engage in perpetual, long-lasting personal growth. Practice reflection (any style you choose, such as meditation). Model core values of compassion, integrity, service, and learning to your team. Learn to better regulate your use of power and control.

9. Be proactive. In the words of Stephen Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” between stimulus and response there is space, and that space represents a choice of how to deal with a situation, person, thought, or event. 

10. Go forth and lead!

What additional leadership tips do you have to share?