This is one of a series of dental practice management articles. In this article, we discuss key skills a dental practice manager needs in order to have a successful practice.
Very often we hear the same complaints as to why someone’s dental practice isn’t growing: can’t hire the right staff, appointment books aren’t being filled, patients aren’t coming back. Every dentist’s office faces one or more of these seemingly insurmountable problems at some point or another, but these aren’t the heart of the issue. These problems routinely trace back to the dentist and his or her lack of management skills. A dentist is a highly skilled and experienced technician, not a business person. Unfortunately, a practice can’t grow unless you help it along. So what are the key factors that you as a dental practice owner need to have in order to bring about a successful practice?
You have to know how to manage the organization as a whole
You first need to realize that if you have any staff at all, you have an organization and therefore you must have organizational and management skills. This is something that’s not covered in medical school, but it should be. As we’ve seen with real clients, technical skills alone can’t get and keep a practice running smoothly. It requires an ability to see the whole picture of how the practice functions, including the business side of the practice. That means you can’t just think about molars and braces. One is not “born” with organizational and management skills, but they can be acquired.
Leadership skills to motivate your staff are vital
It takes more than hiring the right people to have a great team, although that’s certainly part of it. Leadership involves making sure your staff knows what to do in any given situation. You have to inspire them to invest in the practice’s success. Establishing staff policies and a functioning organizational board can help. Training your staff on those policies and the functions of their post will ensure they know what they should be producing. Another good move is to establish incentives to reward productive staff.
Avoid wasting time and resources
“Time is money” is a cliche for a reason. Any time wasted on unnecessary tasks or doing the same task over again is not only a waste of money, but it’s also a waste of energy. There are very few things more demoralizing than wasting energy. A good manager makes sure his staff knows what is expected of them and they know how to get the job done. When you focus on improving your management skills and implement new policies and procedures, your practice runs more efficiently. This means you can get back to treating more patients.
Running a successful business means making sure it runs efficiently from the top down. Sterling has trained and empowered many practice owners to become good managers and build highly successful practices. We have also trained a large number of dental practice staff. Find out how Sterling Practice Management can help you and your dental practice by improving your management abilities. Start by taking our free online practice analysis and consultation.