Many office managers get their first leadership position after they have been the office superstar. Without any previous leadership experience, though, it can be tough to transition into that role. Here are some mistakes first-time office managers can avoid.
Trying to do it all yourself. As the star of the front desk or star MA, everything you did was exceptional. Your job as the leader, though, is to get other people to deliver exceptional work. Trying to do it yourself will keep you from the job you have been hired to do and you will run yourself ragged trying to do the work of all of your team.
Believing your way is the only way. Because you were so great at your previous role, you probably had some great ways of getting things done around the office. This doesn’t mean it is the only way to get things done, though. As you work with your team, don’t get pulled into the details of how to complete tasks. Instead, focus on the goal you are trying to accomplish and give guidance and advice, but don’t demand goals only be accomplished in one way.
Not getting to know your team. Everyone has different motivation and different reasons for going to work each day. Taking time to get to know each staff member individually will help you understand how to get the best results from them.
Getting too close to your team. It is important to maintain professional relationships and understand that there will be times that you know information you can’t share with them, will have to make decisions that affect them and will still have to hold them accountable. These things can be difficult when you are too close to you team. Even worse, when you have personal relationships with only one or two members of your team, others can sense it and you lose credibility and trust with those team members.
Not establishing clear goals with every member of your team. A job description does not cover it all. Your team needs to know what specific goals they can work towards. Examples include be getting high satisfaction on the next patient survey or returning patient messages within 1 hour.
Shying away from tough conversations. It is inevitable that you will have to give some tough feedback when you become a leader. A lot of people avoid these conversations, but it is the only way you can get the best from your team. Just take some time to prepare for the conversation, keep it about behaviors and not the person and make sure the other person genuinely hears the feedback you delivered.
Underestimating the power of your time. You will be pulled in a lot of directions as the office manager and there will be times that people come to you with questions or concerns and you will be tempted to push them out of your office. You need to always make time for your team first – this is how they know you value them and how you build trust with each member of your team. If you find yourself strapped for time, look at what tasks you may need to be delegating instead of cutting back on time for your team. Your time is the most important thing you can give them.