March 30, 2017

Linda Miles’ Brilliant Twist on Office Managers

Last week, a fabulous guest author of ours, Maikel Bailey, executive coach and corporate trainer, provided 4 training tips to take your manager from office manager to awesome manager. After reading his article, Give Your Office Manager an Upgrade, one of our wonderful blog subscribers, Linda Miles, leading dental consultant and speaker, emailed us a brilliant twist that we thought was worth sharing. Enjoy!

The Brilliant Twist: No More Managers!

In her lectures, Miles stopped referring to those who manage the dental practice as "office managers." Instead, she began calling them "practice administrators." And she has a point. After all, don’t you want your hygienists and assistants to be self-directed leaders?

Well, then maybe the term "manager" isn’t the greatest fit for the dental industry.

Titles Are Not Important

At the end of the day, no one wants to be managed. The whole point of giving your office manager an “upgrade” (aka leadership training) is to help them become an effective leader. And leaders don’t manage, they lead.

So, when Linda Miles suggested a title change, we agreed, and so did Maikel Bailey. Because we understand that titles are more than words; they speak to our knowledge, expertise, and success. Even more than that, titles can empower individuals and change perceptions.

In Linda’s practices, the ones that had an administrator “had total team buy-in.” Meanwhile, “those with a manager had pushback and dissension.” Evidently, titles matter! Not only to your team, but to the overall environment, culture, and success of your practice.

Thus . . .

It’s Time For a Title Upgrade!

Perhaps "practice administrator" or "office administrator" is a good fit for your dental office. It worked awesomely for Linda Miles and continues to do so for her clients. It might be the right solution for your team as well.

Here at BlueIQ, we also like the title "office lead." And thanks to Linda, we've decided to start using "office lead" for all of our future references to office managers.

Similar to "practice administrator," "office lead" says, “I’m here to lead our team to success!” Not, "I'm here to manage you." And that's liberating. It empowers your individual team members to be self-directed leaders and accountable for their own performance.

But regardless of the title you choose, it doesn't change the fact that your office lead has to be trained to effectively fulfill that role.

For that reason, beyond updating her title (or his, if your office lead falls into the 10%), you should also help her be awesome in that role!

An Awesome Lead Has Clear Expectations

Perception is reality. So, let’s get rid of the title "manager" and foster the reality that each team member is responsible for managing themselves. Meanwhile, your office lead is responsible for running the practice and leading your team to success. But does she truly understand what that means??

It’s critical that she does if you want her to be awesome at it!

Ergo, your lead needs to have a clear understanding of her role and what responsibilities must be satisfied in order to fulfill that role and meet your performance and outcome expectations. Therefore, as you train your office lead to have the perspective necessary to handle the business flows effectively, make sure you establish clear expectations as well.

Linda Miles defines the responsibilities of an office lead as:

Dental Office Manager Responsibilities

The Clearer You Are, The Clearer Your Office Lead

As you define the responsibilities of your office lead (including performance and outcome expectations), the more detailed you are, the lesser chance you have of a misunderstanding.

Plus, providing clear guidelines empowers your lead by establishing clear direction and constraints. Interestingly enough, the constraints can also work as creative catalysts when self-initiative is encouraged.

All in all, with perspective and clear expectations, your office lead will be awesome at running your practice and leading your team to success!

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