Frankly, physician’s offices are a dime a dozen in most major cities, so it’s important to stand out. First and foremost, you must recognize that exceptional customer service is the final frontier for healthcare and a competitive differentiator! But what does it take to achieve that pinnacle of client satisfaction? Intuitive software and seamless processes are not enough. Your team needs to trust, respect, and rely on one another to get the job done. What your physician’s office needs is an injection of TEAM. The kind of teamwork that’s based on common goals, mutual trust and respect, and shared accountability among all staff members – both clinical and administrative – so everyone knows what they need to do, how they can help each other succeed, and how they will be held accountable if they don’t perform up to par.
Establish Shared Values
A strong team starts with shared values. These are the principles that drive the way your team members treat each other and the way they treat their clients. So it’s time to ask yourself:
- Is your team committed to excellence?
- Will they go above and beyond to meet each client’s needs, even if it means going a little bit out of their way?
- Do you have a culture of respect and inclusion, or is it more like a high-pressure sales environment where people are pitted against each other?
You will not be able to turn your team into a cohesive unit without first establishing your practice’s core values. Your best bet is to start with team-building exercises and activities like vision boards and collaborative problem-solving sessions. You can also help your team identify core values with an online quiz like the one provided by the Center for Creative Leadership.
Build a Culture of Respect
Every single physician’s office needs a culture of respect. Why? Well, respect is what makes a culture truly collaborative and supportive, not just something you tell your team to feel good about themselves. However, this is something that needs to be earned and maintained.
The best way to earn respect is to do your job well, communicate honestly with your team members, and help them when they need it. Nothing will earn you more respect than being a reliable, go-to person.
The best way to maintain respect is to make sure your team members know their value, are regularly recognized and thanked for their contributions, and feel like they have a voice in their environment.
With a truly respectful team, you will see people collaborating to solve problems and helping one another out when they need it, not just the leaders of the team. You will also make sure your team members are receiving the respect they deserve from patients, colleagues, and supervisors alike.
Create a Language of Accountability
Accountability is often a buzzword in leadership and management circles, but it doesn’t actually mean anything without context. Therefore, you need to make sure that every team member understands what is expected of them and that there are consequences for when they don’t live up to those expectations. It’s not enough to say, “We should all hold ourselves accountable to each other” if you do nothing when someone falls short.
The best way to create a language of accountability is to sit down with your team members and discuss:
- What they expect from themselves
- What you expect from them
- How they can hold themselves accountable for those goals.
You can also create a culture of accountability by regularly assessing team members against their goals, holding team meetings to discuss successes, challenges, and how to overcome them, and giving praise where it is due.
Establish Team Member Expectations
As the manager of your team, you play a vital role in setting the expectations for your team members. You are also well-positioned to set clear and actionable goals for each position in your office. Without these expectations, you will never get the results you want out of your team members.
For example, if you want your team members to show up on time, you need to clearly state that expectation!
You can’t just assume they know it is a priority (Yes, its true, not every person thinks that being on time is the most important thing!) That said, it’s up to you to set the tone and create the culture you want in your office.
Example two — If you want your team members to provide exceptional customer service, you have to set them up for success. You have to let them know what success looks like and give them the tools they need to get there.
Provide Ongoing Coaching and Training
Everyone needs a coach (even you), so don’t just reserve the title for your star players. As a manager, you need to make good on your promise to coach, mentor, and train your team members. You need to hold them accountable, yes, but you also need to make sure they are getting what they need from the experience.
Your team members want to learn and want to be better. They want to know that you see their potential and that you believe in them. By giving them the tools and opportunities to expand their skills and knowledge, you are helping your team members succeed and your practice reach its full potential.
The best teams collaborate, not compete! When your team members are regularly working together to solve problems and reach goals, they are far more likely to support each other and feel invested in each other’s success. That kind of camaraderie is what makes a team successful, not just a bunch of individuals working toward the same goal.
You can encourage collaboration by setting clear expectations for your team members and ensuring they know how their work contributes to the bigger picture. And by setting up spaces that encourage open dialogue and collaboration.
Some examples of spaces that encourage collaboration are:
- Open Desks
Open desks and workspaces are best for teams that need to collaborate and brainstorm together. This kind of set-up is also great for remote teams who need to overcome the challenges of not working in the same office.
- Open Cubicles
Open cubicles are best for teams that need a little bit of privacy while they work through problems and reach goals together.
- Closed Cubicles
Closed cubicles are best for teams that need a lot of privacy while they work on sensitive projects. Closed cubicles also work well for teams who need a lot of quiet while they work.
For your practice to truly be successful, your physician’s office needs every team member to be fully engaged and committed. This means that staff members need to feel challenged and appreciated, fully understand the goals of the organization, and believe that their contributions matter.
Patient care can be drastically improved by improving your team’s effectiveness and efficiency. The best way to accomplish this is by creating a culture that fosters teamwork and collaboration, where everyone feels like they’re being heard and appreciated, and where there is a clear understanding of how each person’s work fits into the larger picture.