When you go to optometry school you spend almost all of your time learning the clinical aspects of running a practice and providing patient care. But when it comes time to hop into your first practice you're quick to learn there are a lot of things about running a business that they maybe didn't spend much time focusing on in optometry school.
As an optometrist you're likely going to be managing a team of technicians, billers, and opticians right of the bat. Managing a team of people isn't always easy, especially if you've never been in that position before. And depending on your own personality type, it might come more or less naturally to you than others. What can sometimes make things even more challening is if you're new to the practice, or are much younger than some of the staff members you're giving feedback to. Today, we've got some tips to help you better communicate with your team in order to provide productive feedback that will make your team and office workflow shine when it comes to patient care.
5 Communication Tips to Give Better Feedback and Improve Office Workflow
Recognize That People Actually Want Feedback
In most cases, the employees in your practice want to be performing at their best, and getting constructive feedback on their performance will help them become better at their jobs, and will hopefully make their days easier as they improve. In a survey by Harvard Business Review, 92% of respondents agreed that negative feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance. But, it's important to recognize the importance of positive feedback along with negative constructive feedback.
Not Giving Enough Recognition or Positivity
If you're only giving feedback when something goes wrong it will start to wear on your employees over time. Positive feedback and employee recognition is a great way to keep up employee morale, and will also help make negative feedback more effective when it comes around. But, don't just say things like, "You're doing great," or, "We appreciate all that you do." Be specific about the recognition that you're giving.
Try something like, "I really like how you handled X issue with X patient. It showed great leadership and demonstrated how every patient should be treated in our office."
Offer Solutions to Problems
As a leader in your practice, if you're giving constructive feedback to anyone on your team you should be armed with solutions to help them fix any problems. If you're simply going to point out problems and then walk away providing no real solution or actions to take it could leave your employee frustrated. Offering solutions will help motivate the employee, and will give them the steps to take to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
Ask for Feedback on Yourself
To level the playing field and make yourself a better manager and leader, ask your team for feedback on your own performance. Giving your team the chance to provide constructive criticism to you will help you earn respect, build trust within the team, and hopefully you'll get feedback that will help you improve the way you manage and lead your office.
Make Feedback a Part of Your Office Culture
If you're only tying feedback to yearly performance reviews it can make feedback a more stressful experience for the team. If employees become used to receiving and providing feedback on a regular basis it will help make everyone more comfortable with the process. Plus, not providing timely feedback will likely cause underlying issues or performance habits to go unnoticed or unresolved over long periods of time making a more uncomfortable and less productive work place.
Looking for more ways to improve your office workflow? Download our eBook to help your practice evaluate bottlenecks and areas for improvement.