The terrifying truth about staff management in medical practices

Facts and Figures from the German Health Care System

What it’s all about

One of the big complaints of medical assistants in GP and specialist practices relates to the too little, poor and / or completely missing leadership by the owners. This „leadership insufficiency“ can even be measured and has serious negative consequences for the entire medical practice enterprise.

A look behind the scenes of leadership

Leadership is the systematic design of working conditions that aligns, activates and controls the potential of the staff in such a way that the practice goals are achieved in the best possible way. However, hardly any attention is paid to the fact that the absence of leadership is also a form of leadership, also referred to as laissez-faire leadership style, albeit the worst variant. The representative results of practice management company comparisons show what the leadership reality is currently like in German GP and specialist practices:

Leadership Materialisation Score (LMS)

It indicates the use of leadership instruments compared to the best practice standard and currently amounts to just under 42%.GPs and specialists therefore do not use 58% of the leadership instruments that would be necessary for smoothly functioning practice operations.

Leadership Impact Score (LIS)

It quantifies the general employee satisfaction with leadership in relation to the requirements and currently has a rounded score of only 33% (optimum: 100%).

Return on Leadership (ROL)

If we put input and output, i.e. LMS and LIS, in relation to each other, this results in the key performance indicator „Return on Leadership“ (ROL). For medical practices, the value is usually less than 1 and indicates only a below-average leadership effect. In this case, there is an acute need for action.

Teamwork Quality Score (TQS)

The TQS is the result of combining the staff’s assessments of the quality of cooperation with the basic requirements for optimally functioning teamwork. Its average value shows that there are no „real“ team structures with all their advantages working in practices, but only groups. This form of collaboration is characterised by a low synergy of individual activities: people work together, but only within the framework that is given. Individual initiative or helping out with problems are rare. Moreover, cooperation is often characterised by unresolved conflicts. Although every medical assistant strives to do her job well, there is no sustained commitment to continuous improvement.

The consequences of low, inadequate or absent leadership

  • Doctors who provide little or no leadership to their staff need not be surprised that the work does not go as they expected because the framework of action for the staff is not defined. This inevitably leads to mistakes, as there is a lot of room for interpretation of how tasks are performed. In extreme cases, this can lead to almost chaotic conditions due to a lack of planning. This, however, permanently threatens conflicts between practice management and staff.
  • These situations can lead to unfavourable dynamics which, as a consequence, cause operational processes to be delayed and the internal staff structure to be disrupted.
  • Lack of leadership leads to a greater expenditure of time in terms of corrections and instructions for action that have to be communicated to the staff. The burden of a practice owner without leadership is thus clearly greater than that of one with active leadership.
  • Lack of or insufficient leadership leads to a lack of trust and closeness between the practice owner and the staff. This form of distancing is seen as a sign of indifference and low esteem and does not satisfy the expectations of the staff. This has a direct negative impact on the staff’s willingness to perform, resulting in service by the book, inefficiency and low productivity.
  • Doctors who do not lead create unattractive businesses; they do not get the staff they would like to have and also need in terms of quality. Staff turnover also increases.
  • And last but not least, leadership insufficiency reduces patient loyalty and patient acquisition through a poor working atmosphere and thus, in the medium to long term, the value of the practice and, of course, the practice’s profit.

Easily avoid mistakes

General practitioners and specialists who would like to examine their management, but also all other areas of action of their practice management, can use the Practice Management Comparison© for this purpose. The validated examination, which can be carried out without the need for an on-site consultant, requires only thirty minutes of medical working time and identifies an average of forty suggestions for improving practice work.