Alex Zlatin

office manager

Empowering Your Office Manager

The importance of a trusted office manager to the success of a dental practice can’t be overstated. As the face of your practice, the right person in this role can help you achieve your long-term business goals while creating a congenial working environment. The wrong person in this role, however, can stymie your practice’s growth and make the workplace disagreeable.

What’s a dental owner to do? Answer: Hire the right person, and then empower them.


First: What It Means to Be Empowered

A worker who is empowered in his or her position has the autonomy and authority to do their job to the best of their ability without constant supervision and second-guessing.

At the core of the relationship between a dental owner and an empowered office manager relationship is trust. The dental owner trusts the office manager to use good judgment and to make decisions for the good of the practice.

You’ll be amazed at what the right office manager can do for your practice when you trust them and let them live up to their potential. The first step is to hire the right person.


Hire smart

Most dentists don’t know how to evaluate and hire someone effectively. They know they want someone smart, reliable, and capable, but that’s about it. Unfortunately, this can lead to hiring people who don’t know what it really takes to manage a dental office, and instead of making life easier, they end up making life more difficult.

Finding a qualified individual for the dental office manager role is such a challenge to dentists, I was inspired to do something about it. In 2015, I launched the Canadian Association of Dental Office Managers, which helps dental owners as well as current and aspiring dental office managers. If you own a dental practice in Canada and are looking to hire an office manager, I encourage you to check it out


Clarify the Role

In any job, the employee needs to know what tasks to do, how to do them, and when. You’d be surprised at how many office managers I’ve met with who are unclear on their role. This leads to office managers who are managing “one day at a time,” which is a great strategy for putting out short-term fires, but not a great strategy for long-term growth.

This is not the place to get into the particulars of what exactly an office manager’s duties are; the point is simply to stress that you must both be clear on what the roles and expectations are from the start.


Share Your Why and Develop Trust

On this blog I previously wrote about why you must know your why first[1]. Sharing this why with your office manager is crucial. When they understand the true purpose of the dental practice, they will be able to express that why in the day-to-day work and can guide the rest of the staff to do the same.

In addition to sharing your why, you want to routinely share information about your practice with your office manager. Not only does this allow them make well-informed decisions that help achieve your long-term business goals, it’s also essential to developing the trust that’s at the heart of an empowered office manager role.


An Empowered Office Manager Is Win-Win

At the end of the day, working with an empowered office manager takes stress off you, allowing you to focus on the patient care you love. Your office manager is in the single best position to help support you in your day to day work and in your business’s long-term growth, so make it a priority to find the right one and empower them.


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