Leading from the Chair

Human Resource Management in a private clinical setting is unique. Practice leaders often spend a majority of their day caring for patients and maximizing production. Their focus on clinical tasks requires them to assume a chairside leadership role. Team building, compliance, and systems management can easily get lost if the practice owner and leadership team aren’t 100% dedicated to ensuring the execution of practice philosophy.

A C.L.I.N.I.C.A.L. Approach to HR

What does it take to build a Clinical HR system? In addition to solid systems, perfectly written policies, and a commitment to excellence, practice leaders have to be…


Successful practice leaders understand the unique perspectives of the people on their team. They are aware of internal and external forces that impact each individual and are compassionate, flexible, plugged-in, and open to feedback. Connecting with your team puts the ‘human’ back in ‘human resources.’


A critical component of team-building is loyalty. As Richard Branson’s says, “Take care of your people, and they’ll take care of your business.” Often, practices leaders expect loyalty from their team members but do little to demonstrate that loyalty in return. Clinical HR strives to change that.


The application of employee policies should be unbiased and fair across the board. Regardless of the size of your practice, leaders should remain impartial when dealing with employee issues, deciding how benefits and perks should be administered, and developing practice policies.


Just like medicine, employment law – and its application to dental and medical practices – is continuously changing. It takes a lifelong learner intent on staying ahead of the curve to keep up. Luckily, Clinical HR clients are the kinds of practice leaders who geek-out on learning new things.


Everything you do – every policy you create, every interaction you have with your employees – should be done with a purpose. Your entire HR and management system should built on a foundation that aligns with your practice philosophy.


There are so many rules and regulations practices have to follow to remain compliant – state boards, national standards, HIPAA, OSHA, and more. Employment laws in their varying complexities are often misunderstood or simply disregarded.


It’s easy to tell when a practice leader is just going through the motions – only providing benefits because they think they have to, conduct performance reviews because their employee handbook says they will, faking enthusiasm for the morning huddle, etc. To be an effective leader in a clinical setting, you have to stand behind what you say and demonstrate credibility to your team.


Finding time to lead a team when you spend most of your day caring for patients can be difficult. It takes a strong leader to successfully manage a team when the option to be hands-on isn’t available. Accomplished practice leaders are laser-focused on providing a clear direction, developing and implementing systems that give team members the tools to do the job, and know how to effectively hold individuals accountable. They set goals and have high expectations – for themselves as well as their team.