Let’s be totally honest, you are the CEO of your practice. Perhaps you are a reluctant CEO, as I recently heard one speaker describe it. But you are the CEO!
And great CEOs understand they cannot do it all alone. They need a team to help them.
For the last five months, my blogs have addressed how to build a network of support as a Dental CEO by delegating tasks in a way that supports communication and accountability.
Now, as the CEO, you are ultimately accountable for everything in your practice. (That is certainly what your lawyer would tell you!)
But that accountability can be shared with your team. It is shared by creating a “job description” with your COO (that wonderful office manager!) that not only assigns tasks to that individual, it assigns the degree of responsibility being delegated. It outlines how much responsibility is being delegated and how much remains with you, the CEO.
Then, to be more clear, you can include the list of skills needed for each task (to help identify any training needs), the frequency that task needs to be performed and, when applicable, how the COO should report back to you.
When you set this up properly, your COO will have a clear understanding of their job. They will never find themselves questioning what it is you expect of them.
You have made it clear. They know their job. They know the skills they require. And they know their degree of responsibility.
However, you need to honour it!
One of the greatest challenges many offices face is they seemingly have delegated responsibility to a manager, but all too often, the CEO steps in and overrides that individual.
Team members will not always like decisions made by your COO, particularly when those decisions do not go in their favour. You know they will plead their case to you. They will beg you to decide in their favour – there and then!
Don’t do it!
If you want the team to respect the authority of your COO, you need to respect it too. When that authority is being challenged, your first question has to be “what did the manager say?”
If they have not asked the manager, tell them that is who they should ask. If they have, tell them you support the manager’s decision.
Resist the temptation to immediately overrule your COO. If you do, your team will keep coming to you, meaning the tasks you tried to delegate will just fall back on your lap.
This does not mean having blind faith in your manager. If there is a consistent problem with their decisions, you need to find out why and address the best way to improve things, but do that with your manager whenever possible.
And do it privately so that at all times, you are seen supporting your COO.
When you have completed this task with your COO, the two of you may move on to follow a similar exercise with the rest of your team members. Consider their tasks, how often they should perform them, what skills they need to have, who they should report to, and what level of autonomy should you assign for each task.
These can then become your job descriptions: those backbone documents that set out what is required for each position in your office.
However, before you think your job descriptions are complete, there is one final task that has to be included on every job description in your office.
No job description is ever complete without it!
That task is “whatever I am reasonably asked by my manager or employer to do and which I have the skills to complete.”
There is no such thing as “that is not my job.” CEO’s should not accept that from any team member. Your team needs to be able to pitch in and support each other as required.
So the time has come to be the CEO! Start now by working with your manager to develop their responsibilities in the office. When you structure this clearly, you will be surprised at how much easier it becomes to be a CEO.