In last month’s journey to developing your inner-CEO, we referenced the importance of working with a leadership team. Working more efficiently will mean delegating some managerial tasks to members of that team.
Before considering which tasks you should delegate, I want to address one of the greatest obstacles I see to the effective operation of potentially great leadership teams.
I hate to say it, but that obstacle is often the CEO! In the context of a dental office, that means the owner-dentist.
Too often, I have seen owner-dentists create a role for an office manager, assign someone to that role and then sabotage that chosen leader. The number one way they do this is by failing to support the decisions of that manager.
Most of the time, the intent of the dentist is not the problem. They truly want their manager to succeed and take some of the managerial burden off the dentist’s shoulders. But when some team member complains about the manager’s decision and asks the owner-dentist to intervene, that dentist cannot help themselves.
For the sake ensuring the credibility of your leadership team, you have to support their decisions! The urge will be there to “keep the peace” to make sure the team member is happy.
You may want to overrule your chosen manager. Do not do it!
Once you do, you have taught your team that the manager has no real authority – no credibility. Don’t like a manager’s decision? Just come see the owner!
In no time, your team won’t even bother seeking the input of the manager. They will just come straight to you.
You will be wondering why you cannot get away from the burden of these administrative-managerial issues. Plus, you will wonder why you are paying a manager “who can’t seem to make the decisions.”
The problem is you undermined their ability to do so. You failed to embrace and support your manager’s authority. You did the opposite of what great CEO’s know they must do.
There is a great visual representation of how CEO’s foster and encourage their leadership team on YouTube. Simply do a Google search for Leadership Lessons from the Dancing Guy.
Now I will ask you to overlook the possibility that the individuals in this video may be under the influence of certain liquid or other forms of courage. Instead, picture yourself as the leader with the courage to “dance like no one is watching” even though it is obvious they all are!
What you need to focus on is how the leader embraces the first person who had the courage to get up and join him. Notice how the leader welcomes his secondary leader. Everyone can immediately see his visible show of support so they know the leader values this new person as a vital part of the team.
As a result, they will follow this secondary leader. When he calls for his friends to join, they listen. Perhaps more importantly, when this secondary leader begins doing his own dance moves, the leader does not admonish him for not simply following along. Rather, the leader sends a message that it is ok to do your own dance moves, as long as we are all dancing together!
That is the message you need to send to your team about your office manager.
When team members complain they do not like how the manager is running the office,resist the urge to jump in. Instead, support your manager. Let your team know the manager’s area of responsibility and that the whole team must work together under the manager’s guidance.
Now, perhaps employee complaints are a sign that some change is needed. Feel free to privately discuss this with your manager. If a policy change is the best course of action, make sure it is announced in a way that supports the manager’s authority.
Perhaps the manager can lead a team meeting where the issue of that changes is discussed. This makes the manager (and you!) look responsive to team concerns while still ensuring the team sees the manager as a credible leader.
As the owner of a business, it is not always easy to let go of the responsibility to make these decisions. But business growth may demand that you do!
Your sanity and peace of mind may also demand that you do.
So if you are ready to let some decision-making authority go, then you are ready to be a Dental CEO!