Running a practice, whether as the Owner or the Office Manager has a lot of trials and tribulations. You may find yourself doubting yourself (are you sure you’re are making the right decision), hating how you managed a certain situation (and you make a resolve never to try that again), wish that you weren’t put in the position of having to handle a certain person, hoping that if you just turn a blind eye that it will all go away, nervous about tackling a certain person, afraid to lose staff, afraid to lose patients because of staff errors, feel caught in the crossfire between some of your staff and not sure how to call a ceasefire, …?
First of all, let’s agree that ducking the whole situation and pretending it doesn’t exist, or ignoring it and hoping it will go away are all bad solutions when there is something wrong going on in your practice. It rarely handles the problem and never prevents it from happening again. So let’s rule out this option.
Confronting … not Confrontation
There is a difference between confronting (facing up to, observing and taking responsibility for) a situation or problem. Confrontation implies attack mode and that is very rarely a successful tack to take. But stepping back and taking care to really figure out what is truly going on and then calmly taking the right steps to handle will usually win the day.
A good idea is to back up from the situation presenting itself to you and have a look at what would be the ideal scene in a perfect world. For instance, you have an argument going on between a couple of your staff and everyone can hear and feel it, including patients or clients. What would be the ideal scene? Perhaps it would be: a very harmonious staff who kept their manners in with each other and handled their differences in a diplomatic and calm way.
Now, how to get the two antagonists to see that?
Well, you could start by taking them aside one at a time and get them to see the above ideal scene and ask them how they could achieve that. Do not take sides if they each try and tell you how it is the other person’s fault. They also need to know that it is unacceptable for other staff and patients to overhear or feel the lack of accord and that it is harmful to the practice. Then have them get together without anyone else around (before work, lunch hour, after work) and get them to work it out with each other.
There could be penalties for not handling it amicably to a good result or for refusing to handle it, such a written reprimand given to them and a copy for their personnel files, or no bonus for that week or month for those involved, and so on. The ultimate penalty is one or both being terminated but that is of course the very last resort.
Assuming a confident and competent attitude and using positiveness are really effective techniques for getting in control of bad situations. Getting all negative and crabby just makes things worse.
So next time you have a less than ideal situation happening, use all the above suggestions and see if it helps … it probably will.
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