Developing a Practice Manager

What is the Practice Manager’s role?

Often owners of dental practices find it challenging to manage the business and leadership aspects of their practice. To address this, they might employ a Practice Manager. In my experience, this usually means promoting a receptionist who is a star performer in that role. An assumption is made that as they are a star receptionist, they will make a star Practice Manager. It also means the owner does not have to interview anyone, which can be time-consuming and is not something dentists do often.

Due to the inexperience of both parties, this receptionist is then thrown into the role with little to no training and is expected to manage the practice and lead the team. Before long, the owner is contacting me with a myriad of problems and issues. Was the star receptionist the best choice and were they set up for success?

Who makes a good Dental Practice Manager?

To ensure we get the right person to manage our business effectively we have to consider the following:

  • A strong recruitment process. What is the job description we are hiring for?  What technical skills and personal attributes are required to fulfil the job description – the selection criteria?  What interview questions will draw out this information and allow us to make an informed decision? 
  • A strong induction and training plan to integrate them into the team. How can we involve the current team in all of the above to support the new Practice Manager?

Once we have found the right person, an effective communication platform. Conducting a weekly meeting between the owner and Practice Manager to allow feedback, address current issues and concerns, create goals and develop plans, but ultimately to remain aligned and ensure the owner has certainty and control of what is happening in the practice.  Given they are the only Practice Manager in the business, putting them in touch with other Practice Managers and providing them with external support can be extremely helpful.

In my experience, owners often underestimate the importance of the Practice Manager role. It is a key role in the practice; and like all roles, it is one worth investing in in terms of finding the right person and their development.

Steven Valentine, Business Coach