Archive July 2018 XIX, No. 7


From Buddy to Boss

Kevin Eikenberry

Kevin Eikenberry


SHOW 'EM WHO'S BOSS It's challenging when the people you worked alongside for years now look at you for all the answers.

It's your first day in the manager's seat after years of hard work earned you the right to trade in scrubs for a suit. Now what? Rising from the ranks and getting promoted to an OR leadership position is something to celebrate, but it can be a challenge to manage friends or former co-workers. These 5 steps will help you turn friendships into productive working relationships as you make the transition from buddy to boss.

1 Set clear expectations

The first thing you need to do is understand your new role and define its success, which isn't found among the bullet points on your position's job description. Meet with the higher ups in your hospital or the physician-owners of your surgery center to discuss the expectations they have for your position. Use that conversation to set expectations for yourself. Also share with those you answer to your expectations for the support you'll need from them to be successful. Establishing these parameters will form the basis for your ultimate success. A misunderstanding or misalignment of expectations in the beginning is the fastest way to frustration and failure.

2 Write down your goals

What do you want to accomplish in your new role and why? If you have the context of clear expectations, set goals that are in alignment with those realities. Set goals from several perspectives:

  • Role goals. Perform an honest self-assessment to determine what you have to improve to be successful in your new position. That will help guide what you need to learn immediately and in the long-term as you move forward. Also determine how you'll help your staff succeed at higher levels and make concrete plans to reach those goals.
  • Organizational goals. What big-picture goals do you have for your facility and how will you contribute to reaching those objectives? What role will the staff play in achieving those facility-wide goals? If you want to improve your patient satisfaction scores or increase case revenues, make the goals concrete and partner with your staff to make them happen.
  • Personal goals. What do you want to accomplish in this new role? Perhaps you want to earn an advanced degree or become active in national professional organizations. Set your sights on what needs to get done and jot down short-term goals that will help you reach your long-term objectives.

3Build productive relationships

Meet with your staff as a group and on an individual basis to set expectations of how you'll work together and communicate moving forward. If you have an open-door policy, set clear parameters for what that means. Can staff approach you at any time or are their certain hours that it's OK to stop by your office with questions or concerns? Is it best to email you with the understanding that you'll respond within a reasonable time? Let staff know that you'll set clear objectives and goals for them to meet and outline the support you expect them to provide on a daily basis.

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