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BUSINESS: THE CEO CHECKLIST

CORE STRENGTHS FOR MANAGERS

Time to hire an office manager? Look for candidates who have people skills

Seek a Manager Who:

COMMUNICATES WELL

HAS THE WILL TO COACH

EMPOWERS OTHERS

IS RESULTS ORIENTED

SHOWS ASSERTIVENESS

While the owner/CEO of an optometry practice is typically viewed as a team leader, optometry poses an interesting challenge, as the owner’s efforts in growing a practice often lead to less available time for management. As a practice gets busier, more delegation becomes necessary, including the delegation of leadership. While administrative responsibilities will vary among offices, below are some core people-management strengths to consider when hiring an office manager.

COMMUNICATES WELL

The most effective office managers I’ve worked with tend to have good communication skills. They are comfortable giving feedback, both positive and corrective. Some studies have found good communication skills to be at or near the top of the list of highly effective management skills. This translates to employees being clear on their performance, goals and expectations. When employees don’t do what is expected, it’s a failure of the employee. When employees do not know what’s expected of them, it’s a failure of management.

HAS THE WILL TO COACH

Good managers elevate the performance of those around them. While there is certainly such a thing as a bad hire, sometimes, employees underperform as a result of inadequate training. Good managers are helpful and supportive of the people they manage — not impatient and detached. If everyone whom you manage is failing, part of the problem may lie in neglectful staff training.

EMPOWERS OTHERS

The willingness to empower employees requires a certain level of humility. Unfortunately, humility and leadership are often viewed as polar opposites in regard to leadership. In spite of this somewhat unfair perception, good managers ask for and receive feedback from team members and encourage everyone to contribute. Teamwork and collaboration take precedence over ego and authority. In the words of Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “No involvement, no commitment.”

IS RESULTS ORIENTED

I’ve heard many practice owners complain that employees do not care about practice growth. This should not be the case with an office manager. Most good office managers I’ve worked with took a high level of interest in practice growth, using practice metrics as benchmarks for setting goals for the staff.

SHOWS ASSERTIVENESS

While humility is a valuable attribute in leadership, it must be balanced with assertiveness.

Leaders who lack assertiveness often struggle with the aforementioned qualities. They struggle with providing candid feedback. They are more likely to do the work of an underperforming employee to avoid confrontation. And they struggle with holding people accountable for the results mentioned above. When nobody is holding people accountable for results and improvements, the status quo becomes the norm. OM