Is your manager trapped?

Is your manager trapped?

Nov 01, 2006

Managers in practices, just like those in any other business, get stuck in the middle. And it's uncomfortable to be wedged in between you docs, who want things done your way—the right way—and a team that thinks the manager should have the influence and authority to control you when it needs the boss reined in. Just for thought, here are some ways you get your manager tied in knots:

Make exceptions to your rules. You sit your manager down and lay down the law. "We're not letting clients charge around here anymore." Then what happens? Mrs. Jones comes in the exam room and complains about your new policy. She has been with you since the beginning. You decide your new rule applies to everyone but her. And you totally pull the legs out from under your manager and your policy.

Hold back on necessary resources and support. Let's say you tell your manager to set up a training program. But then you grumble about paying team members for the time, you don't want to provide lunch, and you grouse about the cost of materials. That approach doesn't say, "I think this training is really important."

Give lots of responsibility, but no authority. Perhaps your manager oversees your other employees. Well, those employees would rightfully think their boss can help solve their problems, help them learn, and so on. If your manager can't change work schedules or OK CE requests, he or she really can't do the job.

Give lots of jobs, but not much guidance. Every day you add to the list of things to manage: inventory, accounts receivable, team members. But you follow up your request with a firm statement that the manager can't work more than 40 hours a week. To bridge the gap, help prioritize so the manager knows what to do today, this week, and this month.

Marnette Denell Falley
Work as a team to send a mixed message. Let's say you have three doctors. And in your practice, that means three opinions on everything. How to answer the phone. How to put in catheters. How to manage tardy employees. Guess what? You've got to get on the same page.

Do you not have a manager? You may need one. This key person can save you hours every week—time you could spend on actually providing care for patients. But when you put the right person in place, try not to squash his or her energy and enthusiasm.

Marnette Denell Falley, Editor