As you progress through chiropractic college, you get ever closer to “being your own boss.” With that will come being the boss of others, too. Are you prepared for that?
Ask yourself, “What if I were employed by me?” What impression would you have of yourself? What observations would you make if you could really view yourself from the other side of the employer-employee relationship?
The author John Maxwell, on the topic of leadership, says “Leadership is influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.”
A part of leadership is authority. If it’s your clinic, step up and be the authority. Many should-be leaders struggle with the balancing act of fostering good working relationships, getting team input, while trying to establish and maintain authority. It’s a tough line to walk, but well worth the effort.
Think team: A true championship team is not dependent on any one person – including you, the doctor. The mark of a great leader is the performance of those following him or her. Clarity with individual roles and expectations, as well as team goals, is essential as you begin to build a great team to help serve your patients.
Hire carefully: A great thing about being a business owner is that you get to decide who your team members are. Consider how much time you will spend with your team. Most Americans spend about 40 percent of their lives on the job. Many DCs spend eight to 10 hours a day at the practice. You will be around your team more than you’ll be around your family and friends.
Hire energy: Should you hire skill and experience or personality and energy? The right answer is “both” but, if forced to make the choice, choose “energy.” These people will have a strong desire to be on your team, not just looking for a job. If you’re doing your job of serving and influencing your patients, their families, and your community, you should have people approaching you about being on your team.
It’s not all about you: As you build a championship team, don’t forget that your team members are living lives of their own. Insist that they be fully present and leave their personal stuff at the door when they come to work. But remember they are human. They have spouses, kids in school, plus financial challenges, relationship and health matters, and other legitimate priorities.
Paint a picture: Leaders inspire. To lead a championship team, always give inspiration, not just information. Solid procedures and goals are a must. So is consistent monitoring of statistics. However, if numbers are always the focus and are continually stressed with no meaning or vision associated with them, your team will get bored and even spiteful of the numbers. Be a picture painter.
Be in charge? Where there is a lack of leadership, the team members have no choice but to take charge. As a clinic owner, you are not running a demo- cratic organization. You can delegate a lot of decisions, but your staff should know that you are ultimately in charge.
PIP-CIP: To build a safe and trusting environment, always use this rule: “Praise in public and criticize in private” (PIP-CIP). Never correct an employee in front of the rest of the team and especially not in front of patients. Do it somewhere private. Yet, when a team member does well, recognize him or her in front of as many people as possible.