How to be the glue in your practice

I was told this week that I am the glue in our practice. As a practice manager, (a title that in no way describes what I do each day), I asked myself, what does that mean? After some thinking and naval gazing, I’ve decided that this needs to be part of who I am to continue to move our practice forward.
As practice managers, we need to be happy, positive, decisive, accountable and energised. We should love working in a progressive, changing environment that we presently call accounting practices.
We also need to be the ‘Tigger’ when everyone else is being an ‘Eeyore’. Be excited over changes regardless of whether it is a system change, premises change, team changes or even culture changes as your practice evolves and prepares for the future. Your excitement does make a difference, it helps everyone else see the possibilities.
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“Remember glue can go hard and be unusable if left out.
Continue to be part of a team!”

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We need to be the driver and owner. Know your product and own any decision made to improve, change or update. You should be the expert on what you want to implement – and I don’t mean that you should know it all and use it all, but you need to know what your product can offer and help your team obtain better efficiencies, training and value. Driving change requires planning and preparation. You should also be the ambassador in the practice for the product you are using, again this will make a difference, when your team can see that you believe and trust in a product and supplier, they will begin to do the same.
Build relationships! As a practice manager you don’t always get to meet, greet or build trust with clients. This means you sometimes miss out on the social interaction and feeling valued for what you do. As practice managers we have the opportunity to treat our suppliers and the team as you would the clients of the practice. Suppliers can be great to spend time with, they provide new ideas, cost savings and solutions to problems. The better the relationships we have with suppliers, the better level of service we can receive. This can be valuable to your practice.
And your team! I shouldn’t need to remind you of the importance of every team member and how building relationships with them means everything to the success of your practice and the success of holding it all together – being the glue! I try to remember the five love languages (see picture below) and how we are all different. What one team member values is different to what another team member values. Some team members need words of encouragement, another may need quality time spent on training or listening to ideas, the next team member may really appreciate a pat on the back or a hand shake or being taken out for lunch as a thank you. Whatever it is try to do one or more of these to help all the team feel valued and cared for.

There are many more ways to be the glue and these are just the start. Last but by no means the least of my thoughts is – don’t forget to look after yourself! Have someone in the practice that helps to motivate, challenge, share projects and ideas with. Talk to other practice managers, you can share the ups and downs and find out what works and what doesn’t.

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