Too Many Interruptions? Practice Leadership

Constant interruptions can quickly derail a VTOD's train of thought. Developmental vision cases are often subtle, requiring some careful thought. How do you stop the interruptions without being brusque?

Over four decades, I've seen this issue in more than a few practices. It's usually caused by a doctor who communicates he or she wants to track every tiny detail of operations. Micromanagement is the derogatory term for this, but it occurs to staff as thinking they must run EVERYTHING by the doctor or deal with an upset boss. No one likes working for an upset boss. This doesn't happen in all practices, but if it rings a bell for you, it merits a closer look. To cure the problem, doctor must assign specific duties to specific staff members and have them report at a scheduled time on what the staff person has accomplished.

The difference between practices comes down to leadership, vs. management. A leader is one who sets the destination, the end result, then elicits leaders among staff, who are accountable for making things run smoothly for the sake of great patient care. The caveat is that the leader also grants authority to make decisions and with that, the occasional mistake. Granting authority means not showing anger when someone makes a mistake. A mistake is an opportunity to work with the staff person on what they could do to correct the error and do the task with less effort and with reliable result. Imposing a solution, dressing the person down, saying rude things and worst of all, doing it in front of other staff, is not leadership, it is mere supervision.


In modern management, there is supervision, management and leadership. The first two, without authority to act, are detrimental to staff and makes them want to find work elsewhere. Leadership is about bringing forth the leadership qualities of the staff person, and to me, that means being inspirational. Always looking to and speaking about what's best for patients. Because, of course, what's best for patients is always best for the practice. It gives everyone a chance to shine, and that's what most people want. A chance to contribute to others, and to express their creativity and talent.

A systems-based practice is set up to deliver exactly that - doctor as inspirational leader and staff as leaders in their own area. If you'd like to explore that further, get in touch.

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