How Well Do You Know Your Team?
As small business owners, many of you are torn between the rigors of practice and the actual running of the business. After dealing with the incompliant patient, many of you find yourselves on the phone with the difficult insurance company or demanding personal injury attorney. Lost in the fray of practice (as I can get lost in the fray of running an association), doctors forget to lead. We forget that we are not in this alone.
Your employees are a critical component in your practice. Of course, that is easy to say, but have you created an environment that inspires your employees? In fact, are they your employees or are they your team? Do your employees believe that their lives will be better in five years because they work for your practice (see the July 12th Illinois Chiropractic Society post to Facebook)? Although we may look at these types of questions and either answer flippantly or discard the question altogether, maybe we should stop and take a minute to assess.
Today’s workforce is moving from a “live to work” mentality to an attitude where people want to make a difference – they want to be more than an employee, they want to be a part of something. In The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes & Posner indicate that we need to use inclusive language that “reinforces the fact that goals are truly collaborative, not imposed… it’s essential that you talk in terms of our vision, our values, our goals, our plans, our actions, and our achievements.” Judith Glaser says, “When we engage with others to remove barriers to growth and development, we miraculously feel more inspired and full of life” (Creating We).
Where do we start?
We should start by truly knowing more about our team. Learn more about them, and in turn, become more transparent and allow our team to know more about us. Why are members of our team great at some things and only average at others? Some tasks are simply easier because they fit within our strengths. The Pareto Principal demands that, as leaders, we spend 80 percent of our time working within our strengths, and the same should be true for the rest of our team (The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell).
Our staff at the ICS took time over the last year to find our strengths, and we did this in a very transparent manner. We utilized a very inexpensive, yet powerful tool by Tom Rath – Strengths Finder 2.0 (under $15 through Amazon). The book satisfied three objectives: 1) explained briefly the importance of identifying strengths, 2) gave access to an online assessment tool that identified our individual strengths, 3) explained the significance of the strengths identified. It was truly an enlightening experience. We continue to ensure that our team is placed in specific roles that play to our individual strengths. In so doing, we are able to provide a greater level of service to our members. I would encourage you to do the same.
Resources for Additional Research:
- Strengths Finder 2.0, Tom Rath (includes free assessment tool)
- Creating We, Judith Glaser
- The Leadership Challenge, Douzes & Posner
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell
- The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, John Maxwell