Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Donna Suter, president of Suter Consulting Group. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or UBM Medica.
Whenever I hear an owner or manager complain about an employee missing a deadline, I smile and wonder if they understand their role in delegation. Daily you carry around the knowledge that it’s up to you to keep the practice in the black and ensure employees and patients are happy. You don’t have time to do everything yourself or micromanage employees.
Imagine pushing a small snowball to the top of a hill and watching it gain size and speed down the other side, taking on a life of its own – this is an allegory for delegation in a practice. You see, many of the employees in a doctor’s office didn’t take organizational development classes in college and have never been indoctrinated by a large corporation on the expectations and steps involved in receiving a delegated task.
Barking out an imperative “Because I said so” with a deadline is a thing of the past. Knowing how to present information and ideas in a way others understand enables employees to be considerably more effective and likely to meet your deadline.
Suppose you want your lead optician to complete a 25-file spot check because you want to adjust your fees. Instead of threating opticians with dire consequences (i.e., “If this project isn’t finished by Friday…”) brush up on your delegation skills instead.
Handing out an assignment should be considered a pre-delegation event. Delegation conversations should focus on the expected end result, major policy ground rules, identifying steps requiring coordination with team members, and intermediate checkpoint expectations.