3 Tips for Maintaining a Great Doctor-Office Manager Relationship

Blog post about micromanaging less with checklists

Maybe you have been in my shoes – I really struggled in the first year of working with my doctor. I always felt like if I were going left, he was going right and I knew the team could see it. My first reaction was to ask him a million questions, trying to run every last decision past him. That one backfired pretty fast as he was counting on me to take care of issues for him, not create a million more. The Doctor and I finally had an honest conversation and set some clear expectations of what we expected from each other. This was the turning point in our professional relationship. Here are tips and tricks I learned for maintaining a great doctor-office manager relationship, which has made us a strong leadership team for our practice.

(1) Weekly Meetings

The first thing that helped was weekly meetings, to help keep us on the same page. We set these meetings weekly, on the same day and time. We used the same agenda which always started with talking about what was going well, we found it important to start each meeting on a positive note. During these meetings I would give him team and office updates, we would review numbers and I would run any ideas past him that I felt needed his input. These meetings helped us to be a united front to the team as we were solving issues weekly and becoming a well-oiled machine. I made sure that any issues I brought to our meetings were also brought with some solutions that helped us to remain productive.

(2) Mutual Support

Second, we always had each other’s backs! This was the most important one to me, it always felt like if a team member did not like what I had to say, they would run to the Doctor to see if they could get a better answer.  After we started to truly have each other’s backs, the team going around our backs stopped as they knew we backed what each other had to say.

(3) Expectations & Responsibilities

Last, clear expectations of what each person was responsible for was a game changer! For me, I function so much better when I know exactly what is expected of me and what my job duties are. Once I knew I was in charge of setting office goals, making financing decisions, making team decisions, and functioning more as a chief operating officer it made my job so much easier. I knew my doctor wanted me to be less in the day-to-day operations and more on the big picture of the office. Until we had that conversation, I was always trying to be all things to all people, and it was exhausting. I also knew my doctor wanted to be less involved in some of the decision-making and just wanted the highlights to run past him.

All of these things helped make my professional relationship with my doctor so much better. As office managers we work so closely with our doctors that it is important we are a well-oiled machine and get and give the support needed. The Doctor I have been lucky enough to work for has been the biggest blessing due to the great relationship we have created. I hope everyone has the opportunity to work for a doctor you can truly consider your friend at the end of the day.


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About the Author

Sarah Hayward, FAADOM

Sarah Hayward, FAADOM

Sarah Hayward has been in the dental field for over 20 years spending, 18 of those years in dental office management. Sarah has been a member of AADOM since 2020 and received her Fellowship in 2022.  She is enrolled to receive her AADOM Mastership in 2024.  Sarah lives in Colorado and when she is not at the office, she spends her time with her amazing husband and son.







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