Thursday, December 2, 2010
Weeding Out the "Clinicians in Managers' Clothing"
Today, as we continue our discussion on the challenges of finding quality managers in the health and human services field (Misunderstood Motivations Lead To Bad Management Decisions
all members), I wanted to present a slightly different viewpoint.
OPEN MINDS Circle member William F. Milnor, Director of Business Processes at the Mental Health Center of Denver, has had positive experiences in promoting clinicians to managers:
I have hired many managers out of the clinician pool and have paid very close attention to their specific motivations, and I want to believe that most hiring processes are similarly informed. What I pay most attention to is how enlightened a candidate is to what management is as a discipline and practice regardless of their previous experience, clinical or otherwise. Succeeding that, I look for the potential they possess in talent and interest toward management.
I can recall a couple of excellent clinicians who I promoted to managers, of course after competitively interviewing, that after a period of time figured out they preferred to be clinicians. They were becoming very good managers but were not feeling the satisfaction. I regularly say that one has to "really want to be a manager." It’s really not hard to spot a clinician in manager’s clothing although sometimes it is quite hard for them to see that themselves. Nonetheless that is all part of the grist for senior management.
I love supervising and developing middle managers. I know, as you pointed to with Drucker’s quote, that they are the fuel of a successful organization. Their quality is reflected in the product and reputation of the organization.
I think were we most miss is in how much time we devote to these managers’ development.
I do agree that great talent selection is indeed the first step, and talent alone has never gotten the job done with excellence. I fear that good people get hired and then are not mentored and truly 'grown' into the position
[...]. While strong parallels exist, supervising managers is not the same as supervising clinicians.
I think one of the important points to note in Mr. Milnor’s comments is his reference to managers’ development – education, training, and coaching/mentoring are vital in ensuring that a manager is successful in their role. Tomorrow, we’ll continue the discussion on the importance of training and education for managers. In the meantime, e-mail me your thoughts and questions at
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read more on this topic, you can view yesterday's OPEN
MINDS Circle post:
Does an MBA Qualify You To Be a Clinician?
This is free for the next sixty days to all registered
OPEN MINDS Circle members.
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