A practice owner I know was complaining about his staff to me the other day. Red in the face with frustration, he angrily ticked off all the things he wasn’t getting from his employees, and how much he hated the hiring process. I listened until he’d run through all his complaints.
Then I said, “You know what you’re not getting. Have you thought about what you’re not giving?”
We all want our employees to perform to our standards, to meet (and exceed) our high expectations. But managing for results alone can actually be counterproductive to that goal.
Leaders who focus on results only, without investing attention in the development of their staff, miss out on a powerful tool for fostering motivation, loyalty, and ever-improving performance in their employees. They may get some of the results they want, some of the time. But who’s going to be satisfied with that outcome? And they’re much more likely to face a revolving door of hiring that chews up valuable time and resources, and contributes to an ongoing lack of institutional knowledge within their practice. They’re also much more likely to be dealing with a de-motivated staff that lacks drive, accountability, and collaboration.
Lack of expertise, continuity, communication, and motivation all show up in patients’ experience, and make it tough to maintain the level of care and the reputation that attracts new patients and keeps them coming back.
How do you move beyond managing for results alone? How do you make authentic connections with your staff that inspire trust and elevate performance?
One important way is to intentionally develop yourself as more than a boss. Become a mentor for the members of your staff. A leader who focuses on the development of each of their employees deepens trust, strengthens communication, boosts loyalty and length of stay.
In today’s highly competitive hiring landscape, PT owners need to have coaching and mentorship skills in their leadership toolkit, or they risk losing out on the most talented prospects for both clinical and non-clinical roles.
Developmental leadership helps PT owners create a staff that’s cohesive, committed, clear on goals—and highly motivated to achieve them. And that means less turnover, more productivity, a stronger practice culture that attracts the very best talent when it does become necessary to hire.
Want to be known as the practice where top talent goes, where folks are lucky to land a job? Cultivating your mentorship and coaching skills is one way to do that.
Why mentorship matters to your practice’s bottom line
Cuts down on confusion
Lack of clarity about expectations and goals, and the processes to achieve them, is the single greatest problem facing PT staffs, and therefore the single biggest obstacle practice growth. Shifting focus from results-only to employee development can quickly reveal to PT owners where knowledge gaps and problems are lurking in daily operations. Mentoring and coaching employees in their roles opens up a more transparent, honest conversation about what’s actually happening in the practice. Imagine knowing where all the hidden problems are in your practice, and finally having a chance to fix them, for good.
Increases productivity and performance
It’s powerful human nature that too often gets overlooked. Employees who feel their bosses have their backs, see them as whole people, and think about their interests, are vastly more motivated. The best part? Employee growth becomes increasingly self-directed. Motivated employees who feel supported actively seek out ways to do more and better, work harder and more thoughtfully. This is the inspiring upward cycle that starts with leadership that incorporates mentoring and coaching.
Research highlighted in this recent Harvard Business Review article shows a pretty serious mentorship gap in today’s business culture: more than 75% of employees want a mentor, and fewer than 40% of them have one. That gap represents the rotating door of employees facing so many PT practices today. Professional development routinely tops the list of “wants” from employees. Taking a genuine interest in the developmental needs of team members is one of the most effective ways to cultivate loyalty and commitment. But know this: you must be genuine in your interest, and make an authentic, sustainable commitment to mentorship, for this to work.
Keeps you learning
Taking an interest in the professional and personal growth of employees opens your eyes and ears to new ideas, new ways of thinking, new solutions to challenges within your own practice. You never know what new questions you’ll be inspired to ask, what innovations you’ll discover, what problems you’ll solve when you engage with your employees in ways that allow them to open up, feel comfortable to share their perspective and ideas. Plus, the leadership skills that practice owners learn through a commitment to coaching and mentoring offer continual benefits for your entire team—and that delivers a direct benefit right to the productivity and profitability of your practice.
I’ll leave you with one last bit of advice. The best way to learn how to mentor is to have a mentor yourself. Feel like you need help cultivating those developmental leadership skills? Find a mentor or coach for yourself. There’s no reason to do this alone. In fact, there are plenty of reasons—including saving time and money over the long-term—to reach out for help in taking your leadership skills to the next level.
In just two and a half days, the Practice Freedom Summit will immerse you in the strategies that will set you free and forever change the landscape of your practice. Personally connect with and learn from leaders in the industry who WANT for your success.