4 Ways Your Office Manager May Be Feeling Constrained in Your Dental Office

In January, I wrote a series of posts about different aspects of support for Office Managers. I also began a number of Mastermind Groups for Office Managers to provide them with customized CE that they would be able to apply in their offices. The program has been a success, yet in stark contrast I was also disheartened with some of the information that I learned through a number of the phone calls that I had with several Office Managers who couldn’t join the program.

I had a number of Office Managers who were interested in the program, but they felt that they couldn’t take an hour a month for their CE during their workday even though the office would profit from the time spent. To address this, I have more Mastermind group’s starting in March on weeknights and Saturdays to help provide support.

The owner’s approval was not always the reason why Office Managers couldn’t participate, most often it was a lack of team members to cover for them. I feel that their stress level (like that of the owners) has rocketed to new heights with the pandemic. A number of applicants have said that they are thinking of leaving the industry even after working in it for two or more decades. Our industry is short staffed already, we need to find ways to support our trained leaders.

I wanted to share with you some of the constraints the Office Managers are currently feeling and provide you with some solutions that you may want to look into for your office.

  1. Office Managers are feeling that they have to please everyone right now because of staffing shortages. A good manager can’t please everyone as much as they try. Sometimes they will have to balance the good of the office with the wishes of others. Check in with your Office Manager to ensure that they aren’t trying to do their own jobs as well as pulling up the slack in other areas of the office for team shortages. If they are, do some out of the box thinking like hiring a non-dental trained person as a patient concierge for patient check ins and other tasks to help give your trained team members time to do the tasks that are needed.
  2. Office Managers can’t do it all themselves. They were not made to be an office superhero, learning how to delegate and helping others develop their own strengths will build your team not threaten it. My advice is to check in with your Office Manager and provide support to their decisions for delegation, don’t let them feel that they are alone.
  3. Being an Office Manager is similar to being a professional juggler. If they don’t keep their eyes on the lead ball, everything will come crashing down. Planning their time wisely so that important tasks receive dedicated time for the best results is imperative to the office’s overall success. 
  4. Having an owner who looks at the Office Manager as part of their management team, almost as a partner will provide much more support for the Office Manager. The dentist who arrives in the morning, goes directly to their first patient and leaves at the end of the day sometimes without even seeing or talking to the Office Manager throughout the day is not seen as supportive. Ensure that you are treating your Office Manager as a business partner, someone whose opinion counts, plan times for meetings or at least a check in every day.

My point is not to get down on the owners, my point is a reminder that owners are feeling financial pressures that they have never felt before and the even the seasoned Office Managers are feeling different pressures as well. We need to work with mutual respect and as little stress as possible to ensure success moving forward in supportive environments.

The groups I am leading already have found the experience to be very supportive in coming up with unique solutions to todays problems. If you are finding that your Office Manager needs more support and knowledge for today’s world then you will want to have them sign up for the new groups being offered. https://mailchi.mp/227b72f3fdcc/ommg 

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