Whether your podiatry practice is large or small, it will benefit from successful delegation to competent staff. All too often, delegation is something that is put off when, in reality, it should be the first thing to consider when you are looking at efficient office and time management.
There are many reasons why podiatrists procrastinate when it comes to the delegation of tasks to their office staff.
Let’s take a look at why delegating tasks and responsibilities may be the only thing keeping you from running a successful podiatry practice.
5 Lies about Successful Delegation You May Believe
- Lie: It’s easier for me to do it than to train someone else.
Truth: This may be true if that specific task doesn’t need to be done on a regular basis. However, if it is something that needs to be done more than 2 times a year, consider the training time spent as an investment.
2. Lie: No one can do this job as well as I can.
Truth: If you invest in training time with your staff, they will be able to do the task efficiently and effectively. If not, perhaps you are not choosing the right staff member for that particular task.
3.Lie: I don’t want to deal with pessimistic responses about the tasks being delegated.
Truth: A staff member performs better when they are offered responsibilities and when they feel like they are a valued member of the team as opposed to someone who can’t be trusted for specific tasks.
4.Lie: It’s faster for me to do it than to train someone else.
Truth: In the long run this doesn’t ring true. You will not only save time by not having to do the task on a regular basis but also save stress from not having to worry about that task anymore.
5.Lie: Delegation doesn’t work for me
Truth: When done correctly, delegation works for everyone. Face it: There is only so much value you can add to your practice without enlisting the help of others. You will quickly burn out if you insist on doing it all yourself.
How to Delegate Successfully
The first step to successful delegation is to determine what tasks can be delegated most logically. Things to look for would be…
- Are you comfortable with someone else taking on responsibility for this particular task?
It’s important to remember that proper delegation is more than just assigning work to someone else. It is not only letting go of a task. It also involves transferring the decision-making responsibilities along with the task.
- What is the time investment involved with passing this task on to someone else?
When considering what tasks can be passed on, we must also consider the time investment. If there are other tasks that your office staff can do with less time commitment for training, perhaps those tasks would be a better fit for the time being
- Are there tasks that can be coupled with something that a member of your staff is already doing?
For instance, if your staff is already trained in the paperwork and ordering of wound care supplies, perhaps that same team member can be trained to take an orthotic foot impression or instruct a patient about wound care uses.
- Is there a task that brings out a particular strength of someone on your staff?
Perhaps someone on your staff is well versed in social media; that person may be a good fit for weekly posts and keeping your profiles updated.
- Is there a task that can be outsourced to a capable third-party company?
Successful delegation may need to go beyond the 4 walls of your office. If you find that billing is a constant stressor, consider outsourcing it to a company that specializes in podiatry billing.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Delegating Tasks to Others
In order to successfully delegate tasks, you must have a realistic idea of what to expect. By being informed, you will be able to avoid some of the common short-term pitfalls that come with delegating tasks.
Making mistakes and learning how to correct them is an invaluable part of the learning process. Allow the team member whom you have chosen for the task a margin for error. With time and practice, those mistakes will become far less frequent.
Expecting too much from one person is a quick way to create employee burnout. Make sure that you are openly communicating with your team about your expectations and allow them to express when and why they are overwhelmed.
Manage, but don’t micromanage.
Once you’ve delegated, trained, and set up a schedule for touching base, step away from the project. To succeed (and to help your practice succeed), you have to let go. However, stick to your schedule for checking in to see if there is anything that needs attention. If it does, allow the team member responsible for the task to give it the required attention.
Clearly communicate the desired outcome of the accomplished task.
Be specific with your tasks, including the reason a task needs to be done, the deadline, and the expected results. Employees need a clear understanding of your desired accomplishment with all delegated tasks. Even if it seems self-evident, take the time to express your wishes plainly.
Say thank you.
A little praise can go a long way. When you feel as if your office staff has caught on quickly and given their best efforts, tell them! Employees feel valued when they get feedback, especially positive feedback.
There is no such thing as a single-handed success. The fact is that new, revenue-generated opportunities exist in your practice when you are willing to commit to making moderate changes.
Take your practice to the next level simply by removing basic time-consuming tasks from your plate and successfully delegating them to your office staff. Follow the rules laid out above and put that “do-it-yourself syndrome” to rest for good.