Howard Speaks: You'll Manage! (Maybe) by Dr. Howard Farran

Howard Speaks: You'll Manage! (Maybe) 

by Howard Farran, DDS, MBA, publisher, Dentaltown magazine

How do you manage people? First, you need to stop doing it backwards, and start thinking about managing team members before you even hire them.

I spend an entire chapter in my book Uncomplicate Business on the importance of knowing your employees, because I believe it’s such a crucial component to your business’s success. These are a few of the biggest mistakes I consistently see practice owners make:

Rushing the hire

I find it insane when a practice advertises an opening, then quickly hires one of the first three or four people who dropped off a résumé. That’s silly! If you hire the wrong person, you’ll spend too much of your time, and your team’s time, trying to motivate and manage that one employee. And then you’ll still fail, end up fi ring the employee and starting the search all over again, slightly demoralized from the experience. Take some time and don’t rush the process. Especially now, it’s important to identify what you’re looking for with an employee, and make sure that person’s a good match.

Valuing skill sets over attitude

The right person for your practice depends on how you’ve defined your business—the corporate culture, mission and vision. One of Farran Media’s core values is “Be passionate, enthusiastic and determined to make a difference.” You can’t train traits like that into someone; you’ve got to make sure you’re hiring people who already carry them close to their hearts and minds.

Yes, skills can be important— you wouldn’t hire an engineer who didn’t have a diploma—but I consider attitude to be even more important. If you find the right person who’s already internally motivated, loves to work and gets along with people, you likely will barely need to manage them, and they’ll make you look like a pro. Attitude determines altitude!

Holding on too long

Don’t be afraid to cut ties with staffers who aren’t up to snuff. Just like one bad apple spoils the whole barrel, one bad employee can discourage your entire team, leading to a stressful work environment and diminished job and patient satisfaction.

You need to be prepared, emotionally and legally, to let a problem employee go if it’s clear that things aren’t working out. (Even if you practice in a “right to work” state, still be sure to follow employment guidelines before you dismiss an employee. Check out Paul Edwards’ article in last month’s issue of Dentaltown to learn more about the best ways to minimize possible legal recourse when you fire an employee.)

Ignoring troubling trends

If you’re seeing a lot of turnover, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at who’s doing the hiring. If the person doing the hiring is the only employee who’s been at your practice for more than five years, then that’s the wrong person to be in charge of it.

Maybe that wrong person is you! If that’s the case, enlist someone like a trusted office manager to take over the initial responsibilities, because this might be one skill that’s not in your wheelhouse.

If you’ve had great success in hiring employees for your practice, I’d love to hear your advice—and so would Townies! Verified members of the Dentaltown community are encouraged to leave their comments under this article below.

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