Creating a Positive Team Culture as a Practice Manager
I am fortunate to spend much of my time keeping abreast of aesthetic industry trends, current events and other insights. I do this through attending and speaking at numerous industry events, working with individual practices and reading the latest research reports, industry insights and surveys. I also have access to academia and organizations focused on specialized aesthetic offerings.
Through these endeavors, I have discovered 4 recurring themes that I believe address the needs and wants of the aesthetic industry: leadership, culture, training and understanding their data. Our ability to succeed in these areas is highly dependent on our people. Having the right people, with the right skills, in the right roles, with the right structure of compensation and benefits are critical to achieving this success. But to deliver these effectively we must align our company practices and behaviors. We must set out to establish a Company Culture that:
- Encourages positive attitudes
- Builds trust and confidence
- Creates shared values
- Establishes common goals
- Attains buy-in for team responsibility for overall revenue growth and excellent customer service
What is Company Culture?
According to indeed.com, company culture is defined as a set of shared core values and practices that define an organization, both internally for employees and externally as part of its public image.
The more clearly defined and consistent a company’s culture is, the more likely they are to retain top talent, make work feel purposeful and have employees who feel motivated, passionate about their work, engaged, more productive and feel like they’re a valued member of the team.
A strong company culture strengthens performance and recognizes and celebrates the quality of work employees produce. It also empowers employees to work independently and take pride in their work as well as to feel passion and purpose which is a strong motivator.
When you treat your employees like partners in your business, everyone becomes invested in the success of the practice. People want to feel heard and needed. When you nurture your employees and find opportunities for them to grow so they don’t feel stagnant, they tend to stick around for the long haul.
Creating a Company Culture
Some of the first things you and your team should create together to establish your company culture are:
- A Mission Statement that communicates the purpose of your practice. Most practices have this, but the real question is, do your employees know what your mission statement is and are they able to express it to patients.
- A Vision Statement that provides insight into what the company hopes to achieve or become in the future.
- A List of Core Values or Value Statement that reflects the organization’s core principles and ethics.
- A Culture Handbook that defines what it means to be part of your team and what you are asking them to commit to (for example getting to work on time, open lines of communication and communicating respectfully, maintaining healthy work relationships, doing your best in the moment based on the best knowledge you have, providing five-star customer service, using positive language that builds people up vs. tearing them down, leave gossip at the door, etc.).
Becoming the Leader of Your Company Culture
Great leaders are not born. They are developed and cultivated. They should strive to always maintain a level of emotional intelligence and trust their intuition. As a leader, you need to show up and be your best self every day. As you grow as a leader, you must also continue to nurture, build, and maintain your company culture.
It is important that your entire team:
- Understands the vision and what is expected of them
- Commits to the vision
- Always maintains focus on the vision
- Is persistent in their drive toward excellence
- Takes action to reach established goals
As an effective practice leader, you need to be able to:
- Develop people
- Make quick decisions
- Communicate to connect
- Influence others
- Delegate effectively
- Give feedback
- Give praise
- Encourage diversity of thought
- Creates a culture of trust
- Foster leadership in others
If you want to gain the respect and trust of your team, these are the top three things you must do:
- Show Up. You must show up and play full out. Leading others by example. They are watching you. If you are not showing up in full force and bringing your A game, neither will they. You must be fully vested. Show up early, show up prepared, and be ready to seize the day.
- Work Hard. Your work ethic must be top-notch. You want it at a level that your team admires you. If you want to be in the top percentage of aesthetic practices, you cannot be a lazy leader. Your team is watching you all the time. Employees are paying attention not only to what you say, but also to what you do, how you conduct yourself, and how you approach each task. You must be the example and set the bar.
- Eliminate Negativity. There is no room for negativity if you want to be successful. Don’t focus on problems. Focus on solutions. Don’t allow negativity amongst your team. When you embrace positivity as a leader, your energy is higher, and your team will follow suit. Be the thermostat not the thermometer. Don’t walk in and read the temperature of the room and adjust your leadership style and energy to match your staff. Be the thermostat and set the tone.
According to Brian Tracy, a business success expert, there are 7 qualities to embrace to stand out as a great leader. They all can be learned and should be practiced regularly.
7 Qualities to Stand Out as a Great Leader
- Vision. Great leaders have vision and are focused on the future. They have a clear idea of where they are going and what they are trying to accomplish as well as a strategic plan to get there. Great leaders can tap into the emotions of their employees and help transform the future of the practice.
- Courage. Great leaders have the courage to take risks to achieve goals with no assurance of success. Let’s be real. There is no certainty of anything in life or business. Courage is being willing to take the first step even if you can’t see the whole staircase.
- Integrity. This is one of the most important core values of most leaders. Being completely honest and transparent and always being truthful to employees as well as patients.
- Humility. Great leaders are strong and decisive, but also humble. Having humility means being competent yet being able to recognize the value of your team without feeling threatened. Having humility also means that you are willing to admit that you were wrong or could be wrong or that you might not have all the answers. It also means you give credit where credit is due.
- Strategic Planning. Great leaders are experts at strategic planning and can look ahead to anticipate where the business, industry or market is going. They can anticipate trends in advance of their competitors. They continually ask themselves where they will likely be six months or a year or two years from now based on what is happening today.
- Focus on Needs/Strengths. Great leaders always focus on the needs of the company and the situation. They focus on results that must be achieved by themselves, their team, and the company.
- Make Valuable Use of Time. Great leaders can call the shots and make sure that everyone is focused and concentrating on the most valuable use of their time. This is essential to the excellent performance of your company.
As we approach the end of 2022, I challenge you to look at your own internal company culture. Think about what you want to do differently as you move into 2023. Think about what changes and improvements you would like to make. Think about creating a culture handbook and going through and defining your vision, mission, focus and purpose, so your team can be in alignment.
I know it is easy to use the excuse you don’t have time, or your team doesn’t have time. Trust me. If you carve out the time, I promise it will be worth it.