By Teresa Duncan, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

February 22, 2019 -- Getting promoted can be exciting, but a change in title comes with added responsibility. In my work with clients over the years, I've noticed a common thread of mistakes that first-time supervisors make.

These mistakes include taking on too much work, not changing your mindset, allowing too much gossip, and others.

1. Continuing to do your old job

Teresa Duncan
Teresa Duncan is an international speaker who focuses on revenue, dental insurance, and management issues.

Many office managers tell me that they do not delegate tasks from their old role, but rather they just add these responsibilities to the list of their new job. When you think about it, that's not really a promotion, you're just doing two jobs at once.

Many of these first-time supervisors view asking for help as a sign of weakness. They worry that the doctor may lose faith in them, and it will seem as if they did not earn the promotion. I can tell you confidently that delegation is not a sign of weakness.

Facebook groups and other online forums are full of office managers asking for help. However, I caution you when taking advice from these locations, as not all of the offered advice is accurate. Remember that these groups are great for motivation, but always make sure the answers you receive are accurate and not going against any state or federal employment laws.

I recommend that office managers make sure that they are clear about what the new duties are. To make it easier to delegate from the old job, I suggest creating a timeline. For example, you can say insurance aging is not your responsibility after a set date. This will help the transition period as you work to focus solely on your new job duties.

2. Remaining close friends with subordinates

The bitter pill of work friendships, especially between a manager and subordinate, is that it leads to favorites. Even if new managers feel they aren't playing favorites, they probably are, and others will perceive it.

“Delegation is not a sign of weakness.”

Managers can come up through the ranks with the same people that they are asked to manage. This can create helpful insight as to how to effectively communicate with your team, but it can also create issues from pre-existing friendships. Having mutual respect between the manager and the team is essential. If you go out with the team every weekend and the team knows all of your secrets, it will be harder for them to listen to you and respect you.

Ultimately, the goal everyone is working toward is excellent patient care. I ask my clients to consider the question: How does this relationship impact treating your patients?

As a manager, you can't have favorites. Sometimes that means that you can't go to lunch every day with people or that you can't go out drinking after work. Spending time with certain employees over others sets a perception that you have favorites.

This is especially important when the practice is bringing in new employees. It is intimidating and off-putting if they feel they are walking into a clique.

As hard as it can be, it is important to pull back on friendships and set clear boundaries. Sometimes, we end up seeing our coworkers more than we see our spouses, so it is natural to want to form friendships, but boundaries are needed so that you can have confidence in the team.

Part 2 of this series will address three additional mistakes made by first-time supervisors.

Teresa Duncan is an international speaker who focuses on revenue, dental insurance, and management issues. She is the author of Moving Your Patients to Yes: Easy Insurance Conversations. For more information or to contact her, visit her Odyssey Management website.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.


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