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Defining the Skills Required by Registered Managers
Definitions of the standards for the leadership and management skills required for dental practice managers to comply with legal and ethical requirements are beginning to emerge with guidance from the General Dental Council and from the CQC in their Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOE) for Well-led services. Registered Providers and Registered Managers are responsible for creating the means and methods to ensure quality principles are implemented for day-to-day patient care. Once the standards have been embedded in policies and procedures, they must lead their practice teams to implement a range of principles and then to reflect upon the results secured.
Motivating the Team
Developing management skills means getting a grasp of basic leadership and management techniques. Once these have been developed, they can promote motivation and productivity, so that teams work together towards the quality goals, defined by their leaders. Working for and successfully achieving goals creates excitement within the teams. Managers then need to cooperate with leaders to define practical methods of recognising and achieving achievement.
Suitable qualifications for managers are of at least an A Level standard, managers must show they know and can apply management principles and concepts to routine events and workplace challenges. Managers also need to develop reflective practice skills to review the causes and effects of results of their management input.
Good management is based upon a good level of understanding of how work allocation and delegation can motivate or de-motivate the team, dependant on the levels of communication, support and direction provided. Most importantly managers must be able to apply the principles of Quality Management and therefore must make continuous improvement a part of the practice culture.
Over many years, I have observed how much more managers with even the most basic management qualifications enjoy their work than the managers who follow their instincts and ‘do their best’- irrespective of how good their best is. Formalising management skills equips managers with ‘tools to think’, this is particularly important when the unexpected happens and the manager falls back on learned skills to problem solve and can evaluate and identify best practice when the team excels.
Most managers find that having completed a basic qualification, they have the ambition and confidence to go on and achieve higher qualifications. There can no doubt be that the most effective managers are those who are perceived by their employers and their teams as being ambitious, competent, confident and understand the challenges of their teams. To tick all of these boxes managers must either have a dental background with management qualifications, or be qualified managers from another sector with an additional qualification in dental practice management.
Training and CPD
Many practice managers are registered dental professionals, in which case they have a responsibility to maintain their ongoing professional education. For those from non-dental backgrounds the practice’s Education Policy and Procedure will provide a clear definition of the practice’s expectations of them to keep up to date and consciously improve their knowledge and skills through participation in education activities, followed by reflective review and implementation of learning.