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Make an Impact: Leadership Essentials All Managers Need

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 9:00 AM

Aesthetic Medicine, Expert Advice

Written by: Glenn Morley

Glenn Morley
Senior consultant

As a field-based consultant, I know that hiring an effective office manager or administrator is one of the most critical decisions a physician owner can make. When interviewing today’s owners about what makes for an ideal manager, I regularly find that they consider certain leadership traits, behaviors, and characteristics to be essential.

To be an effective practice leader you must:

  • Be visible. Don’t be a desk warrior. Get out and circulate among your team. To understand and meet the challenges staff and the clinic face, the best managers are out moving through the clinic several times a day. If there is room, set your workstation outside your office, keeping your private office only for meetings or employee counseling. Being on the frontlines with staff, physicians, and patients is vital to maintaining a healthy practice environment and knowing what is really going on.
  • Be an outstanding communicator. Effective communication starts at the top. You must answer phone calls, emails, and return messages promptly. This allows the team to have proper guidance and instruction. It also serves as a model for professionalism, courtesy, and accountability, all central to establishing excellent communication in the clinic.
  • Readily meet with vendors and sales representatives. Many successful practices have well-developed strategic partnerships with vendors, pharma, and device companies. As a manager, you are often the hub in this specific communication wheel and can listen, ask pertinent questions, thoroughly review opportunities, and advance important initiatives with these outside partners. Many opportunities that are beneficial to patient care and the practice occur through strategic partnerships with other businesses and vendors, which rely on you.
  • Minimize drama. Keep drama out of the office. Modeling and enforcing a no-gossip policy is central to building a strong and cohesive team. Cohesiveness only occurs when there is trust, and trust only occurs in a culture that establishes respect, professionalism, and servant leadership as cultural norms. As an office leader, you have the power to influence the practice culture.
  • Get down in the trenches. When a practice is short-staffed or overloaded with patients, great managers jump in and provide almost seamless help. As the office manager, you should know how to do the “work of the office,” and do it with some degree of efficiency and expertise. Spending time with individual team members also presents a wonderful opportunity to better understand the important nuances of each position and how teams and tasks interrelate. Through frontline interaction, good listening, and collaboration, the best innovation occurs.
  • Act as a brand ambassador. Great managers are brand ambassadors inside and outside the office. Brand ambassadors uncover and cultivate opportunities for development and efficiencies and build goodwill along the way. Networking with other administrators and managers at regional and national meetings is a great way for you to market the practice and its providers and learn what works in other practices.
  • Walk the talk. Employees who demonstrate respect, hard work, gratitude, kindness, professional attire, proper work ethic, timeliness, and avoid unscheduled absences, are often following a great manager role model. Be that role model … always.

Although many elements are at play in creating a successful practice, the importance of being an effective manager or administrator cannot be overstated. As a manager of people and processes, you have an opportunity to impact the lives of owners, staff, and patients alike. Remember as a new generation of interesting and energetic employees enter the workforce, they require you to not just give direction on the what, but also to explain the why, and often, step out of the manager office to show the how.

YOUR TURN: What characteristics do you think an effective practice administrator needs to possess? Please leave your response in the comment section below. Thank you.


  • Steve Kreitman said Reply

    I love the article and will try to follow what you said. The only issue is that staff think they have the owners ears.
    Any videos you can recommend to watch, please send me, so my managers who think they are friends with their staff can view them.

    • BSMAdmin said Reply

      Hi Steve,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, and I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Matrix management can be very challenging, and the strength of an organization can often be traced to the strength of a leadership dyad, at the top. As leaders, physicians and managers must be in sync and avoid ambiguity with regard to decision making and respective roles in dual leadership. A valued consulting colleague of mine, Jennifer O’Brien, MSOD, wrote a timeless article about the complexities of matrix management for AAOS some years ago. It can be read here: I hope you find this of interest!

      Glenn Morley

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