By Chandresh Shah
I have written about leadership and delegation in the past, but I just realized that sometimes, over-delegating can become a problem.
As a physician, you focus on patients and managing your practice. You work on projects and initiatives that need your attention. Working on tasks that do not add a lot of value, will quickly make you overwhelmed and stressed.
Most of you realize that delegation in some form is extremely important. Too much of anything is not good though. You need to make sure that you do not delegate too much as that can lead to delegating the wrong things.
In this article, I’m not going to talk about why some people do not delegate. (It could be either they don’t trust others, they don’t trust that others will be able to handle certain tasks according to their standards and they would have to redo those tasks. I have also discussed this in my previous article). I will, on this article focus on
What is over-delegation? Over-delegation means:
· Delegating everything.
· Delegating way too much
· Delegating to the wrong people
· Delegating the wrong tasks
Here are some examples of what I have observed while working with clients:
A solo provider in his private practice has a very respected position in his area. He loved talking to patients and taking care of them. Beyond that, he pushed everything else to others. He said he had a very capable office manager. A couple of months ago, he called me in a panic saying that some good staff members were leaving and his billing collections were falling behind. He was at a loss to explain the reasons. He also commented that perhaps he had the wrong person in charge of office management all along.
His office manager was actually a very capable person.
Looking at what happened, here is what I found out the most important issue was lack of clear and frequent communication, not only with his office manager but also the administrative and clinical staff. The provider, who thought that he should “delegate” simply told them what he wanted, and assumed they understood and would get it done. He did not consider the implication of the kind of delegation he is doing where he is resigning responsibility and authority to his staff. In effect, when things go wrong, the physician gets upset. This is what happens when you delegate too much.
Delegation is not an art; it is a skill that must be learned.
It is important to know what to delegate, who to delegate, and how much to delegate. But behind all this, is the importance of proper guidelines and communication tied to tasks you carefully chose to delegate. You also need to clearly communicate expectations and methods of reporting.
It is amazing how many physician owners do not know the details of their revenue cycle management. Providers should know and proper communication on this delegated task will get the provider information relevant to him.
In summary, Delegation does not mean simply giving orders and handing off tasks and projects with the assumption that you will get the results you desire.
Ultimately, you are still responsible to ensure and close the communication loop. You must establish key performance indicators or metrics for the measurement of success. Communication is one thing that you cannot delegate. Otherwise, you will set yourself and others up for a lot of frustration and problems.