Being a manager means every day is a new adventure. With a myriad of responsibilities, a physical therapy manager can often get lost in putting out fires. However, the best managers can quickly pivot and refocus on the qualities that make for an effective manager and a thriving physical therapy practice. Here are seven tips to becoming a better manager in your physical therapy practice:
1. Professional Growth
Leadership is an ongoing learning process. From clinical education to business acumen, there is never a time when it's okay to stop learning. Many options are available for continuing professional growth through learning, including online courses, thousands of books covering a wide range of topics, or free webinars covering topics like billing, insurance negotiation, branding, and leadership.
Running an effective physical therapy practice without organization is almost impossible. Schedules, reminders, and organizational systems will help you and your team get more work done in less time with less stress. While individuals may vary on what type of organization system works best for them, the important part is implementing an organizational strategy, monitoring its effectiveness, and adjusting as needed. Persistent and widely utilized organization also gives rise to increased productivity and lessens the risk of mistakes.
3. Consistent One-On-Ones
Keeping communication lines open between you and your team is imperative. It creates an atmosphere that allows your employees to feel comfortable bringing their concerns to you, which can be addressed before they become issues. Team meetings are crucial but not always enough. Create a consistent schedule to touch base with each employee on a routine basis, they will feel valued, and communication lines will remain open. With open communication lines, you can better coach, direct, and encourage your employees, creating a better atmosphere for your employees and patients.
4. Clarified Accountability
When you set the stage for open communication, it is much easier to relay expectations to your team effectively. The first way to send a message of accountability is through modeling. If your team can expect you to fulfill your responsibilities, they will be more apt to follow in your footsteps and meet their own. They can only do this if they know exactly what is always expected of them and that they will be held accountable for their responsibilities. Communicating expectations routinely and clearly is imperative to stay on track.
5. Conflict Resolution
Conflict is something everyone wants to avoid yet is unavoidable when managing people. Conflicts will arise, and if not handled quickly and effectively, they can linger for months and fester into something much larger. If any of your team members are experiencing conflict, address it quickly, calmly and respectfully, giving equal measure to both sides. Ultimately, you must decide what the best solution for both team members is and how it affects the entire team and practice. While waiting to see if the conflict works itself out may be the path of least resistance initially, it can later result in a much bigger problem than if it were handled quickly and professionally.
6. Shared Responsibility
You are only one person. While a manager wears many hats, you can't be expected to do it all - nor should you. By empowering your team to take on some of your responsibilities, you are lessening your load so you can focus on what only you can do while building a stronger, more engaged team. Your team members likely possess skills and talents in areas that are either not your strong suit or are not the most effective use of your time. Use those skills and build them up through training and guidance and then trust them to take the wheel! Not only will you benefit, but so will your team and the practice.
7. Remaining Passionate
Passion is contagious. You got into private physical therapy practice because you love to help people heal. That's something to be passionate about! When your enthusiasm shows in all you do, it will rub off on your staff and patients. Everyone experiences a little burnout from time to time. When that happens, write down a few things you love about your job. Those reminders will keep your passion alive and your enthusiasm evident.
If you are considering opening a private physical therapy practice or converting your current practice, contact us to learn more about partnering with FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers to find your path to physical therapy success.