Here are six attributes of a successful surgical administrator. See how many you can call your own.
1. You're a master delegator. You can't run a surgery center all by yourself, so you surround yourself with a great staff, and provide the support and tools they need to complete their tasks. When an employee feels valued for her resourcefulness, a manager creates loyalty and job satisfaction. Naturally, you're always willing to roll up your sleeves and help when the staff is overloaded.
2. You don't solve others' problems. My first job was at IBM and my manager was great. I went to her because I was struggling with how to handle an account. My boss stopped my venting and told me she never wanted to hear my problems. Instead, I was expected to come to her office stating the issue and proposing several solutions. Her job was to review the proposed solutions and help me determine what made the best sense for the company. That was the best management advice I ever received. If you spend all day solving staff problems, you're an ineffective manager.
3. You give staff clearly-defined roles. And you stress the interdependence of each role to the center's overall success. You're faced with a staff of different personalities, dissimilar levels of experience, personal issues and diverse work ethics. Map out how each employee's job effects everyone else's. For example, a scheduler needs to understand that her job, if done incorrectly, wreaks havoc on every other process at the center. By defining and reinforcing the interdependence of each team member, you lay the groundwork for shared goals and individual accountability.
4. You're a great communicator. You have frequent meetings to reaffirm goals and discuss options to tackle obstacles in achieving those goals. Goals help lead and direct the team towards the bigger picture and lessen the messiah syndrome of an employee who believes without her the center couldn't possibly survive. Ensure employees are recommending solutions and that the overall team attitude remains positive. When you and your team approach obstacles in a positive mode, everyone becomes confident that a solution can be found.
5. You spread your smarts. A strong manager shares information so that all team members are better equipped to make sound decisions. You're as committed to sharing your knowledge as you are to educating yourself. Read your trade magazines, attend conferences and network with peers. When you discover a great article, share it with your staff. Be willing to be vulnerable and admit you don't know the answer. New issues arise all the time and some take a little research. Resist the urge to control everything and be the single source of information. This indicates a lack of confidence and is a poor long-term management strategy.
6. Your door's always open. Most centers depend on a culture that understands the chain of command. That doesn't mean you can't be approachable. If the team fails to rally around the manager, nothing can be achieved. A manager who is strong and confident in her leadership skills will also be friendly, caring and complimentary on a job well done.
Six for six?
So, how'd you do? Keep this article handy and refer back to it to monitor how well you're performing in the role of manager.