There isn’t another position like it in your office. The person who fills it is THE expert, carrying a wealth of knowledge that spans the entire practice. They’re able to tap into that knowledge at any given moment. In some areas of your practice, they may even know more than you. We’re talking about your Office Manager.
Ask your OM almost anything about human resources, dental software, clinical knowledge, treatment coordination, hygiene coordination, customer service, metrics, marketing, leadership, accounts receivable, budget balancing, payroll, and IT problem-solving and they’ll likely have the answers. If being that go-to, on-top-of-it-all person isn’t enough, they’re also the constantly moving force behind setting goals for office growth.
Owners sometimes feel that if their OM were to change, the whole office would collapse. They rely heavily on their OM for tasks they don’t know how to complete themselves. It’s a staggering role and thankfully there is someone in place to fulfill it. That’s why it makes good sense to provide everything they need to thrive and succeed.
If you think of your OM as more management partner than employee, it can be a game-changer! Give them the ability, with clear parameters in place, to make decisions that you’d support if questioned. It will effectively reduce the extra stress that comes from decision-making and allow you to put that energy into providing exceptional patient care.
Naturally, such an all-encompassing role calls for certain protocols to be in place, a fully detailed job description, and clear, concise understanding of responsibilities. Neither of you wants to realize a year or two down the road that an item was falling off the radar because each thought the other was taking care of it.
A good OM needs to have an affinity for both numbers and leadership. Not only should they record numbers and be able to analyze the results with you, but they should also be ready for discussion about how to move the practice forward based on those outcomes. You both should have eyes on a growing practice, not a stable practice. The latter is always only comfortable for a short time.
The OM who leads well knows that leadership is not dictatorship. They understand relationships, can promote team participation, and are firm in decision-making especially surrounding change. They might not be able to perform every task in the office, but they possess a keen understanding of each role including its challenges and success principles. An OM whose strength lies only with numbers, or only with people won’t be able to lead the office the way you need them to.
The OM is awesome, but not superhuman. What about their own challenges, questions, and incredible stress levels? Any person who feels (and essentially carries) the responsibility of the office on their shoulders needs a support system in place when they feel challenged and need answers, and sadly, many offices come up short. This is where you come in. It’s your responsibility as the owner to provide the specific resources for your office situation that your OM needs to succeed.
I can’t help thinking about my years as an Office Manager. It’s a position that offers no formal training to move forward in the field – you really need a great mentor to grow. The available Continuing Education offers generalities that may or may not apply to every OM’s work environment. I craved a mentor who would connect me with other office managers and answer my questions, so I wouldn’t have to constantly figure everything out on my own by trial and error.
That’s why I designed a Mastermind Group for Dental Office Managers. It provides small group peer support, customized systems applicable for your office, and leadership training. I’ve been there, I know how crucial it is to have a great OM and keep them heavily supported. I’m happy to give you more information, feel free to connect with me anytime.