When you come right down to it, being an effective leader and the head of an office that operates like a well-oiled machine can be summed up in one word: relationships. In order for your staff to give you the best they have to offer, they have to know that you have their best interests at heart and that you respect their individual talents and skills. At the Institute of Podiatric Excellence (IPED) we hear over and over from our members that being a good communicator is essential in creating a productive and positive office team. Here are some tips for effective leadership in your practice:
- Don’t just hear, listen! It’s important to have an ongoing dialogue with your staff. It’s a two-way street. Being heard will help your staff be invested in the practice and concerned with it’s present and future.
- Encourage input. Many times the people who have to implement office policies best know how to make improvements since they are the ones actually working with them and seeing firsthand how the process works. Ask for suggestions from your staff.
- Get in the trenches. Don’t ask your staff to do something you wouldn’t do. When possible, pitch in on the jobs nobody wants and lead by example.
- Empower your employees. Don’t micromanage. Give employees direction, the necessary tools and clear and consistent feedback. Celebrate staff achievements publicly and handle mistakes privately.
- Pay attention to communication styles. Get to know who needs more feedback and who sees repeated instructions as nagging. Remember that words are only 40% of communication—body language, eye contact and tone of voice are all part of the message you deliver.
- Be realistic. Your employees are real people with real lives, not machines. Everyone has a bad day, be willing to accept that and move on.
When your staff feels valued for the contribution they are making to your practice, the impact on both their lives and the outcomes for your patients is extremely positive. To learn more about improving various aspects of your practice, consider a membership with IPED. We bring students and practitioners of all experience levels together to share and learn from one another. For information, contact Executive Director Ruth Ann Donahue at firstname.lastname@example.org.