Delegate, don’t abdicate

I have just seen a presentation about how to run a clinic and they talked about the importance of delegating.

I think that this is definitely an area that we, as doctors, struggle with.

We have a tendency to feel that we are the best person to do the job.

If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing yourself

This may be true, but if you want to have any sort of scale and efficiency in your practice, you have to delegate.

I understand the resistance to this because when you start to delegate tasks, you find that things don’t get done properly

…and this leads to frustration

You ask your secretary to put together your operation figures for your appraisal and she doesn’t count the mastopexy augmentations within the figures for mastopexies.


You want the clinic nurse to follow up on patients post op and they call them on the day of discharge from the hospital and you happen to be in the room seeing them when they call…

…why don’t they wait until the day after they are discharged to call?!

What is wrong with these people, why can’t they get it right?

Must I do everything myself?

When you take a step back, you might realise that you didn’t delegate those jobs, you abdicated.

There is a big difference.

If you want to give someone a task and are happy for them to get on and do it as they see fit, you are abdicating.

…but if you want things done a certain way and you want to keep a close eye on everything, you need to give guidance.

That is the difference between delegating and abdicating.

You can’t just expect to say, ‘get the figures for my appraisal’ and expect them to be collated in just the way you want, without saying how you want it done.

By and large, everyone is trying to do a good job.

No one is trying to annoy you and mess things up

…but you can’t expect everyone to know what is going on inside your head.

The key to delegation is processes

If you want a successful and consistent practice, you cannot rely on people ‘knowing’ what to do

Yes, you need to have good people

…but your business needs to be based on processes with systems to facilitate the delivery of those processes that are implemented by people.

Focus on building the process and then you can delegate effectively

Without the appropriate guidance, you are abdicating.

… and you may be heading for a frustrating time when they don’t read your mind effectively!

If you want to know more about setting up an effective Private Practice, I am running a one day workshop in Birmingham on Monday 11th November, where I will talk about how to structure your practice and how to make it run efficiently and professionally.

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