• Top 8 Management Tips for Practice Managers

    Whether you’re new to the role as a practice manager, or you’re here to fine tune your skills, your knowledge of practice management has more than likely come from either academic or practical experience. And while that’s certainly imperative to your role, I’ve also found that hearing about the experiences of other medical practice managers has helped me figure out what works for me and what doesn’t – especially when it comes to practice management skills.

    To stay on top of it all, here are my personal favourite management tips that I’d love to share with you.

    Leadership

    I’m going to get straight to the point – no successful institution is where it is today without effective leadership. This doesn’t mean someone has stormed through the doors and started telling people what to do. No, no, no. Effective leadership is meaningful, it’s impactful and it’s profound; it’s an individual who motivates people to work together, strives to achieves goals, and shines not only when the going is good but when the going gets tough.

    Balance

    Having a close team is important, but where do you draw the line between having a healthy work culture and getting too personal? Being part of a medical practice, you’re guaranteed to develop work relationships as well as real friendships, but as a practice manager you have to be careful of the way you conduct yourself with staff. Great practice managers show they care on a personal level but know when and how to challenge staff directly and provide guidance.

    Knowledge

    Imagine walking into your new job on day one, and your new manager or boss not knowing their own computer systems or how to handle their daily routine. Unheard of, right? Ensure early on that the knowledge of your role and all the bits and pieces that come with it are engrained in your brain to the point you can do everything with your eyes closed. This includes your organisation skills, RACGP Standards, Medicare guidelines and item numbers, all your computer systems, and customer/patient service skills.

    Team Building

    So many people roll their eyes when the words ‘team building’ are mentioned, but just hear me out! Whatever the activity or event, team building provides a number of positives for each person involved. It facilities better communication, motivates staff, promotes creativity, develops problem solving skills, and most importantly it breaks barriers, increasing the trust factor with your practice management team.

    Wellbeing

    For most of us, our lives are made up mostly of work, and if your medical practice isn’t a ‘happy place’, there’ll be a big chunk of everyone’s lives desperately counting down the hours and minutes to 5pm Fridays. It’s a miserable thought. Supporting your staff’s health and mental wellbeing will increase productivity and build morale amongst everyone, and you can do this by creating a productive environment, encouraging work-life balance, initiating wellness programs, and starting activities like walking meetings.

    No Blame Rule

    Okay, so blame is usually assigned to a person before all the facts are known and it assumes that people, not the systems they operate in, are the problem. It focuses on the past and on punishing the offender. This type of culture can do real damage, so I like to enforce a No Blame Rule in my clinic. Instead, medical practice staff are held accountable or take accountability (in other words, responsibility) for results, either good or bad, and assist in finding solutions to problems.

    Upskilling and Continuous Learning

    Ever heard the phrase ‘Good leaders never stop learning’? In my time working within medical practices, I have taken much notice of the fact that successful and effective practice managers are the product of a never-ending process of skill and character development. They develop through constant learning about work relationships and how to get positive results, and are clearly passionate about excelling.

    Organisation

    This one is pretty self-explanatory for practice managers. Making sure you have a daily, weekly and/or monthly planner whether it be hard copy or digital, keeping your workspace clear from clutter, staying away from distractions, and following through with your tasks without multitasking not only will help you work efficiently but will also help promote efficient time management.

    Being a practice manager can, and should, be an extraordinary and rewarding responsibility. Lead by example, never stop wanting to learn, and ensure you are working just as hard, if not harder, than everyone else.

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