Leaders vs Managers

A common issue in many dental offices is the issue of the role of the office manager.  We hear concerns from staff about the way the office manager manages people but the owner dentist does nothing about it.  There seems to be a common disconnect between office managers and the rest of the team, and likely it’s because most managers seems to still be using the old-fashioned “carrot & stick” model. 

On top of this, we get many offices where the owner dentists relinquish control to their office managers for the simple reason that they prefer to do clinical dentistry or simply don’t have time to run the administrative parts of their business.  So we get into the issue of leadership vs management and many people still don’t understand this very important distinction. 

Many offices run without any type of clear defined leadership.  Many dentists don’t really understand the role of leadership and simply prefer to hand of this part of the business to their office managers.  In addition many owners appoint someone as manager and give away leadership control to them by default. 

So let’s first define leadership.  The main role of a leader is to positively influence their people and drive them to a specific outcome. 

So what is a manager, then?  A manager is a person responsible for administering or controlling specific systems or people within a specifically defined context. 

That is not what happens in many offices.  In many of the dental offices we talk to, the manager makes up his/her own rules, ways of doing things, and very often even targets or systems!  That’s a recipe for disaster.

What should happen?

A manager should be a person that is accountable to the leader for implementing and delivering the leader’s systems, key performance indicators, and targets.  The manager should be working closely with the leader in order to understand and then implement the leader’s vision and strategy.  But how often does that actually happen?  Does it happen in your office?

There are other ways of ensuring that management follows through on leadership strategy and vision.  But, as everything else, this too start with the leader.  So you must first define who you are and where you want to go.  And that’s Strategic Plan. 

For more information on the Strategic Plan or other UPB programs, contact us at UPBDentalAcademy. com.

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