Think For Yourself

If you have a large enough practice, then you likely have some type of management person on the team.

If you have a large enough practice (typically 10-12 people or more), then you likely have some type of management person on the team. This could be a hospital or practice manager, maybe an office manager, or a supervisor for one of the positions in the hospital such as a head tech or lead receptionist. Their position title implies that these people are leaders in the practice, guiding the direction of the team and the practice.

Yet there are other types of leaders out there, in your team, maybe right under your nose: the “silent” leaders. They wear no identifiable name tag or title, but it will be in your best interest to know who these people are and how they influence the team. They typically have strong personalities, and people listen to them; they are often charismatic. However, they are also usually the people who resist change, stir up trouble, and generally try to herd the team away from ideas that require any type of change. Why would they feel so threatened by change? Because they typically have a pretty comfortable, if not cushy, place on the team.

They often have many years of experience, have always shown negative traits in personality, but amazing “technical” skills, and year after year they are allowed to stay because, well, they become “untouchable.” Why? Because they have always acted this way, yet no one before has had the guts or gumption to bring about disciplinary measures. They are sleek and sneaky, they affect the opinion of everyone else, so the management thinks the entire team is against the change. That’s because not a minute after an announcement of change, they are busy taking polls about how people feel and helping them lean toward disagreement.

How do we deal with these silent leaders? Not by ignoring them, because that has been their protection all along, no one wanted to risk pushing this person too far. What if s/he quits? What if s/he takes all those “friends” s/he seems to have? Truth be told, the others are only following because they don’t want to stand up to her either! So it’s easier to let her opinion win out.

It would seem best for management that perhaps right before the change is announced, the management has a conversation with this silent leader (you know who they are), and approach the topic so they nearly think they came up with it! You know how to do this, especially if you’re married or have male practice owners…funny, but just kidding!

Try to gain this silent leader’s approval, or at least enough bend to let the change go forward. When this person messes things up and sends a team member into your office, encourage them to stand up for themselves, and have courage that their opinion matters too! If enough people on the team do this, then that silent leader will finally be, truthfully, silent, because no one is left to listen!

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