Welcome back, everyone! This week I wanted to touch on job titles, but more specifically the role of a "office manager," and why I don't think they are entirely necessary... to an extent.
Kind of confusing, right? Let me explain...
I once read John Maxwell's The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential, and my mind just started making all these connections. Job titles are so important that people need a VERY clear explanation of what their job responsibilities are. As dentists, we wear several different hats at the same time: CEO, dentist, CFO, office manager, trainer, etc. So, when we consider hiring an office manager, we automatically think "YES! Please manage the staff, so we can get back to what we love most - our patients.
Here's what I feel about the title of "office manager"- it gives them a level of leadership right off the bat. Don't get me wrong... there's nothing wrong with that, but sometimes we aren't clear about what the "office manager's" roles are, and as a result, we may end up butting heads.
I had an "office manager" once... it didn't work out. Why? Because I wasn't clear.
She had no idea what she was supposed to do and honestly, neither did I! I was just so excited about being able to be patient focused again! Once I read Maxwell's book, I started to realize what I needed to do.
He explains that there are 5 levels to leadership:
Level 1 is the position title - My "office manager" was at this level.
Level 2 is the type of leadership where people start to follow you because they WANT to - Unfortunately, I never gave my "office manager" the right knowledge or tools for her to reach this level.
Level 3 leadership produces results - Their actions prove that whatever they do works. The numbers or feedback demonstrate that their leadership is working.
Level 4 focuses on people development - Essentially, this type of leadership builds leaders with coaching and training so that the team is successful.
Level 5 creates opportunities for people - In my opinion, this is where we all aim to be. We give them a sense of purpose and the ability to present growth for themselves.
I believe that us Dentists have to be the "office manager" at first. We all start at level one for every new hire and as our relationship together grows stronger, we should continue to level up.
For instance, a new hire right now would view me as a level 1. After a little bit, they may move on to level 2. I'm no longer just their boss, I'm someone they follow because they know I can lead them to success. The members that have been here since the beginning may view me as a level 5. We've grown together, and they have proven to be key members of my practice. Because of this, I was able to revisit the idea of an "office manager."
Last year, I promoted one on my team members to "director of operations." She's been on my team for almost 13 years and has been in almost every position she could be. And that is why I chose her. She knows how we do things around here and knows my team personally. She has already earned the trust and respect from my team, that once I started delegating the right tasks to her, I was able to confidently appoint her as my director of operations.
So, to bring it all full circle, when looking to hire an officer manager, my advice is to look within your team, delegate tasks to the right individuals, and watch the leaders come out, then you will see who is capable of wearing the "office manager" title.