DENTAL PRACTICE ARTICLES
How to Be an Encouraging Dental Office Manager and Help Employees Feel Empowered, Informed and Invaluable
A good manager helps people do their best. But that’s hard to achieve if employees, for whatever reason, feel anxious in the workplace–more worried about surviving than thriving. Even at the best dental offices, you can’t eliminate uncertainty. There are too many forces beyond our control that can affect business–from the weather to the economy to changing technology. However, you don’t want to eliminate healthy caution. One reckless employee can bring down a dental office. It’s important to reduce unproductive fear, the anxiety that keeps people from doing their best work. That sort of fear distracts employees, saps their energy, and leads to discouraging attitudes.
Every manager has the power to help people gain the confidence and energy to do their best and create an environment in which people feel “EN-couraged” every day. You can make this happen by helping people feel empowered to solve problems, informed about important issues, and invaluable to the organization. An effective office manager will help employees to feel empowered, informed, and invaluable. This doesn’t happen overnight and one person can’t single-handedly transform the culture of the office, but he/she can certainly have a positive impact.
Encouragement spreads from the top down. Encouraged employees tend to be the top performers and that makes encouraging behavior very contagious. When you genuinely involve your staff in problem-solving, you help them feel empowered, and that’s when they give you their best, most creative ideas.
At your next staff meeting, start by taking as many ideas as possible. Do not make critical comments, just write them all down and include them on the agenda. Then get the group to help you evaluate and discuss each one. That way each employee gets their voice head and you won’t have to be the one pointing out the problems. In fact, you can set a positive tone, encouraging people to solve those problems, which is exactly what you had in mind in the first place.
Helping employees feel well-informed is an important part of creating an encouraging workplace. People need to trust that they’ll be kept “in the loop” about important developments. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if they always imagine there’s something sinister afoot. Informed employees are more relaxed, more confident, more productive. Honest communication can put a lot of fears to rest. Encouraging managers keep people informed. Employees know they’ll be entrusted with important information, because open communication is the rule. It happens informally, every day, whenever managers interact with employees.
An effective manager won’t try to solve all the problems either. That sort of environment’s no fun for employees and it’s no fun for managers, either, who find themselves consulted on every small decision. When employees feel invaluable, they make their own decisions, use their best judgment, and solve problems. People feel valued when their managers show genuine, unqualified appreciation. It’s the difference between employees who are afraid to make a move and people who get things done even when the pressure’s on.
An important part of being an encouraging manager is setting a confident and positive tone. Your employees take their cue from you. Involve people in problem-solving, hold regular meetings and express appreciation every day.
The manager must also feel empowered, informed, and invaluable. Employees want to feel their manager’s part of the team that’s steering the office. It is important that the manager to takes ownership of the policies and procedures of the office, explain the reasoning behind them and productive ways of working within them. That gives employees the encouraging feeling that the manager is in control and if provides a sense of comfort and reassurance to employees.
There’s another way managers can set an encouraging tone in the workplace and that is demonstrating cooperation and mutual respect in their dealings with one another. To do their best work, employees need to feel that everyone’s on the same team, working towards a common goal.
To help people feel empowered, encourage them to participate fully in problem-solving, demonstrate your respect for their opinions, and be sure to put their good ideas into action. People feel most empowered when they see themselves making a difference.
To help people feel informed, set a tone of honest, open communication. Keep people “in the loop,” with regular updates on common goals and important issues. Make sure employees know what’s expected of them, what they must do to succeed and how their performance will be measured.
To help people feel invaluable, let them know you recognize and appreciate their initiative. Maintain an adult, mutually respectful relationship with every employee. Most important, don’t be shy about telling people–often–that you value them and their contributions.
As an effective manager, you have the power to create an encouraging workplace, full of confident, comfortable people doing their best work. You do it by helping employees feel empowered, informed, and invaluable. Help to free up your employees to do their very best work.
Author: Sandie Baillargeon