What makes a great Manager?

Most of yesterday’s working day was invested in meeting with the Managing Partner of one of my budding £10m dental micro-corporate clients, along with the recently (internally) appointed Manager of their Hygiene/Therapy Department.
The client has expanded from 1 to 3 practices in recent months and is learning the ropes with regard to managing “satellites”.
When considering what makes a great Manager, here’s what I said:
The Manager has to understand more about how things get done than anyone in the department.
The Manager is responsible for creating the manual to which all can refer when in doubt.
The Manager takes responsibility for (in this case) clinical governance and compliance, and for clinical mentoring, as well as the effective operation of all other systems in her Department.
The Manager intuitively understands the nuts and bolts of how the business works and how her Department works.
The Manager has attention to detail that is a sharp as the Owners.
The Manager takes 100% responsibility for Getting Things Done (GTD).
The Manager understands what makes people tick.
The Manager is able to conduct individual Personal Progress Interviews (PPI’s) on a monthly basis.
The Manager creates an environment in which people want to get motivated.
The Manager is an inspirational Leader, people want to impress her and thrive on her appreciation.
The Manager knows the numbers better than anyone in her Department.
The Manager can dance with a spreadsheet, write effectively, create systems and workflows, project plan and ensure that deadlines and targets are met.
The Manager understands where the profit centres are in her Department and equally where the profit holes are.
The Manager suggests ideas to improve Profitability.
In the case of yesterday’s “newbie” it was quickly clear that, as an experienced clinician, she already knew 80% of the Protocols. However, she scored her expertise on People at 40% and her expertise on Performance at 60%.
So – we spent a lot of time discussing what makes people tick and the balance of our time teaching her the numbers and how to keep count.
An observation:
The Manager arrived at the meeting with predictable concerns about her confidence in the new role.
I pointed out that 80% on Protocols, 40% on People and 60% on Performance = 180/300 = 60%.
A pretty good starting point.
I’ll now be working closely with her to get to 80% overall (a realistic target).
You might want to review the Performance of your Manager(s) against the 3 P’s and identify in which areas training and coaching are required.
The same applies to all of your Managers – Marketing, Patient Journey, TCO, Clinical, Acquisitions or Ops.
If you are building a £10m micro-corporate, looking for 100% Growth or simply want to experience the confidence of knowing that you have a great support team – you might want to call me in to work with your Manager(s) to get them to 80%.
It’s one of the things that I really enjoy doing.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.