You learn everything you need to know about being a good doctor in medical school, right? Not quite. Doctors are often thrown into leadership roles alongside their roles as healers and caretakers. The challenges that come with leading a business aren’t always covered in your otherwise thorough education.
When it comes to running your own practice, how you lead defines how well your business will do. Without strong and deliberate leadership, not only will your bottom line suffer, but so will your patients and employees. Let’s look at how doctors’ leadership roles can affect their medical practices.
Your Name is on the Door
Often in the medical field, you are your business. Your name is your business’s name, and that means your professional reputation is also your business’s. With this inseparable association in mind, it’s easy to see how the way you run your practice defines how patients (and potential patients) perceive you as a practitioner.
Even the most knowledgeable and talented doctor in town can struggle with effective leadership. Here are a couple of questions that can help you reflect on your leadership style in relation to you as an individual.
- Does the way I currently lead reflect my personal values and beliefs? If not, what needs to change?
- If I were a patient in my practice, would I be happy with my experience? If not, what elements need to be improved?
Honest and frequent self-reflection is vital if you wish to revise and improve your leadership style to achieve sustainable, long-term success.
You are in the Business of People
Great leadership focuses on the human elements of a business. Your policies and processes, how you train your employees, the way your office is laid out﹘ all these elements must be designed to improve the human experience. This includes your employees, fellow doctors, and, of course, your patients.
Here are a few people-focused questions you can ask yourself when evaluating your current leadership style:
- Are our current customer-facing processes enhancing patient experiences? If not, what needs to change? Please note that these processes can range from how you show patients to the restroom, your communication touchpoints, or the amount of time allotted for each patient. Nothing is too small to make a lasting impression on those you serve.
- Am I setting my employees up to succeed both at work and in their careers? People want to work for leaders who are on their side.
- Am I giving my staff the necessary tools and information they need to help the business as a whole succeed? If you don’t share your big picture goals with those who are ultimately helping you achieve them, they will never understand the role they play in the success of the company.
This article is an extremely broad overview of how you can be a better leader and therefore a better doctor. Looking for more information? Pick up a copy of our book, One Patient at a Time, a guide to creating a successful, patient-centered practice.