Common medical practice management screw-ups and how to fix them

February 27, 2017

Managers are often excellent workers promoted from the ranks; they may know how to do the job, but they may not know how to manage. Managers, just like other staff members, can develop habits that can derail the momentum and culture at your physician organization. Here are three critical management derailers — and solutions you can use to keep your physician practice on track

1) Lack of interpersonal and communication skills

Indicators that one of your managers might suffer from this derailer include constant conflict with other colleagues, avoiding direct communication and refusing to have difficult conversations in person — relying on email or written notes to deliver criticism or other feedback.

How to fix it: Talk to your manager about the reasons they’re uncomfortable communicating with others. Get to know their natural communication style and try to help them understand how to more effectively communicate with others by coaching them through some of their options.

2) Resistance to change

These managers react poorly when they are told there will be change, expressing frustration; they do not change their attitudes even when their concerns have been addressed, and they are preoccupied with discussions of “how things used to be” rather than where you want to go. They aren’t open to new or better ways of doing things, and they tend to stick old processes while expecting new outcomes.

How to fix it: Sometimes managers need a little help to focus on their priorities, especially if those priorities are new. It helps to understand what might drive your manager’s appetite for change and where the aversion to change stems from, then use that knowledge to shape your response to your manager’s actions.

3) Inability to see beyond their functional silo

Some managers take a stance that their department, or even they, themselves, come before the organization. That’s an understandable human impulse, but it’s also a critical management derailer for obvious reasons; if everyone in your business thinks like this, you won’t be in business for very long. At their worst, these silos can lead managers to withhold information that could be helpful to other team members.

How to fix it: Including the manger in at least one cross-functional team or establishing at least one cross-functional goal  can work wonders in removing the silo-specific blinders surrounding this management derailer. Keep an eye on the manager’s developmental progress and continue to cross-train until he or she is aware of how his or her actions affect the team.

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