When people think of leaders, they tend to describe character traits and habits that are natural to the extroverts of the world: they’re charismatic, good at talking to and directing people, outgoing, and so on. This can leave the introverts of the world feeling like leadership just isn’t for them—which is far from the truth. This is the good news for introverted physicians and office managers out there, trying to grow and manage a practice. You can be great and effective leaders if you learn to make the most of your strengths and stretch yourself.
Introverts tend to be introspective people who take time to think and need time apart to themselves to recharge. Being in a field like medicine where you interact directly with patients and have to work closely with staff and coworkers can be exhausting for an introvert. This doesn’t mean you aren’t cut out to be a leader. If you’re running a practice, doctor, you ARE a leader, like it or not. Office managers are leaders as well who are there to help the doctor succeed.
So what can you do to become a better, more effective leader? Here are a few tips that can help:
- Listen, then talk – Use your listening skills to your advantage. Whether you’re talking to patients, employees, or coworkers, ask questions and actively listen to their concerns so you can address them.
- Focus on the individual – This is a chance to build interpersonal relationships. Treat each person as an individual who has something valuable to say. Try to invest in that relationship, whether that’s for the short time you’re in the exam room, or while you work with an employee in the office.
- Practice small talk – This may be out of your comfort zone, but practice talking to people and making conversation. The more you do this, the easier it becomes. It helps toward building those individual relationships.
- Take time for yourself – You know what you need to unwind and recharge. Whether this means a quiet lunch by yourself, a ten-minute break during the day, or some other way of recharging, make room for your needs so you can continue interacting with people and being a good leader.
- Focus on your goals – Doctor, you have to keep your goals in focus so you can tune your leadership towards achieving them. This means keeping an eye on the big picture in meetings and so forth, and speaking up when otherwise good ideas get in the way of achieving it.
Leadership isn’t about being boisterous and showy. You can be a great doctor as an introvert, and you can be a great leader as well. The same is true of office managers. Leadership really is at the heart of your office management, so don’t take it for granted. It’s something our Virtual Practice Management Institute (VPMI) focuses on quite a bit. If you aren’t sure how to be a leader, or know your office management needs some changes, contact us for more information about our practice management programs. Just e-mail [email protected] or call (717) 725-2679.