Saturday night at CVC Central, management experts Denise Tumblin, Marianne Mallonee, and Monica Dixon Perry fielded questions from the audience on generational conflict in their practices—and launched some general personnel questions as well. Here are some of the questions CVC attendees asked, along with the panelists' responses:
Q: How do I, as a manager, motivate an "old guard" doctor to recognize the value of praise and positive feedback for team members?
A: This is a situation that calls for constant coaching and feedback with the doctor. Veterans and baby boomers are motivated by knowing what's in it for them, so if you explain to them that employee praise benefits the practice financially and them personally, you might see them begin to change. Also, offering praise to the doctor him- or herself might demonstrate how nice it is to be recognized for a job well done.
Q: I recently promoted a stellar technician into a management position, but she's floundering. What do I do?
A: First of all, for future reference, make sure you sit down with an employee before any promotion and discuss your expectations for the new position. A clear job description is essential, as is a trial period in which you both see how the transition will work out. The deed is already done in your case, but you still need to craft a job description that spells out the duties of this new position.
Meet with the employee to make sure she understands your expectations, then monitor how well she fulfills them over the next 30, 60, or 90 days. At the end of this period, if she's still not succeeding, she will need to revert back to her former position, along with the pay scale that is appropriate at that level. Of course, she may leave if this happens—but she may actually be relieved if she's miserable as a manager.
Q: I've been discovering hundreds of dollars' worth of missed charges in our invoices, and I've narrowed the main culprits down to one associate doctor and one receptionist. What's the best way to approach these two?
A: It sounds like you've already done a good share of the work—becoming aware of the problem and identifying the offenders. You need to meet with this doctor and this receptionist and bring the problem to their attention, then incorporate a plan to remedy the situation. If, after a predetermined amount of time, you don't see any improvement, your practice might not be the best place for these employees.