Practical Practice Management

Are You Headed For Burnout?

Often we hear the expression “You need to have passion for your work.” That sounds absolutely wonderful, but it is important to first understand what passion really is.

The actual definition of passions is; “A powerful emotion or feeling.”  When you know that,  then how do we apply it to what we do at our job?  Many times when a person is a hard worker and tends to be a bit obsessive about what they do people will say that person is passionate.  But, is that true or are they obsessive?

I came across a very interesting article in the Harvard Business Review blog titled Passionate For Your Work that I believe is worth reading.  The author Scott Barry Kaufman talks about passion for your work in two different ways, one being harmonious and the other obsessive.  When someone has passion in a harmonious way about their work they have “joy” when doing it.  They are able to separate personal life from work life and enjoy both.  They are less likely to burnout and have higher levels of well-being.  Since they can leave work at work, when they return to work they are refreshed and ready to go for the new day.  When you have harmonious passion for what you do you are able to be more flexible at work and ultimately overall more successful.

There are people who have an obsessive passion and are emotionally dependent on their work, they bring it into all aspects of their life because it is where their value is.  Because of this their job brings higher levels of negative effect overtime during their life.  Their moods are dependent on what is happening at work, they cannot let it go.  They have increased chances of total burnout and major stress, because they are obsessed with their work.

I think we all have probably known people who are either harmonious or obsessive about their work, which person did you find to be happier?  Which do you think is healthier? Which one describes you?

Be well,

Tina

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The Need For Customer Service Feedback

Having good employees should not be the exception, it should be the rule. Finding good employees is another blog post altogether, but you must find them if you want your company to have good reviews and customers that return and refer their family and friends.

I had an interesting experience with a company that we hired to do some work for us. I can say that 90% of the people we came in contact with were good; it was the 10% that made the decision for us never to use that company again.

I called the company’s supervisor and nicely explained the issues we encountered with some of their employees. I explained to the supervisor as a business owner myself, I would want a client to tell me if one of our employees gave less than the best customer service to any of our customers so that I could do something to rectify the dissatisfaction and save our reputation with our client.

The supervisor was in total agreement with me and insisted on giving us a discount on our service. This was appreciated, but it was not the reason for my call.

My real reason was to inform them of what happened so that they could make sure that it did not happen again. Who knows how much business they have lost already by customers who have been unhappy, and did not let them know.

It is said, that one unhappy customer will go out and tell 10 other people about the bad service they received in a place of business, but a satisfied customer usually only tells 3 people of the excellent services they have received. Strange, but true, bad service speaks louder than good service.

In our place of business, we are always telling our clients to let us know if there are any problems or misunderstandings, as we want to give the best service possible to them.

Many times we don’t know if something is less than satisfying from our client’s point of view unless they tell us. More often than not a dissatisfied client will either not come back or will post a bad review that really doesn’t explain their experience well.

Staff’s customer service skills and training needs to be continuous and this requires effort from the business owner and management staff. If you do not have a continuing education program you are opening the doors for a poor service opportunity to happen, which can be very costly to your business.

Keep your ears open and make sure you invite your clients to give you straightforward honest feedback on your service with them. Surveys and review cards are helpful. Let your customers know that reviews are always welcome and that if they help you with the information that you need, you can give better service to them in the future and focus your attention on where you need to improve as a business.

 

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Grateful, Thankful and Blessed

“I originally wrote and posted this blog seven years ago.  I think it is worth reposting.  

Let us all count our blessings daily.”

Tina

During this time of year, people begin to make lists of Thanksgiving.  I have often wondered why we should wait until this time of year to recognize the things we are thankful for.

Thankfulness should be an everyday habit that we develop and if we do, our perspective on life will change for the good.

Today, in our medical practice a woman was leaving after her appointment and passed by the check out window.  The medical assistant asked if she needed to schedule a follow-up appointment.  She said that she did, but she would be starting chemotherapy soon and did not know what her schedule would be like or how she would be feeling, so she was going to have to call at a later date.

The assistant was empathic to her situation and said that they understood and told her to just give a call and we would get her in as soon as possible.

As she went to walk out the door, the assistant said to her “Have a wonderful Thanksgiving”  She replied, “I will do my best, thank you.”  And then she added, “if I don’t see you again, please have a wonderful Christmas Holiday and New Year.”

There was silence…..not only did my heart sink but so did the assistant who was speaking to her.  Can we even begin to imagine what she might be going through?  Not at all unless we have walked in her shoes.

Her prognosis was not the best, but she still wished my co-worker a Happy Holiday, and with an up-beat tone in her voice.

At times we think things are so bad because of problems at home or work and not to down-play them at all, but when the rubber meets the road, what is really bad?

Today, I am healthy and I give thanks for that and for many other things that make my life so rich, such as:

  • My husband
  • My children
  • My wonderful co-workers
  • My job, that I love
  • My ability to go to work each day
  • Being able to make other people’s day wonderful by having a positive attitude when I encounter them
  • The people who come to our medical practice, for without them I would not have a paycheck
  • My sweet puppies, that bring me so much joy
  • Again I have to say “Thank you” I am healthy today!

The list could go on and on, and with each item I list, the better I feel about life and being able to make other’s lives better.

It is never too early to be thankful, start your list now and add to it each day.  What are you especially thankful for today?

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Lack of Confidence At Work

There are three primary reasons that employee will lose motivation at work.

  1. Lack of Confidence
  2. Lack of Focus
  3. Lack of Direction

Today, I want to talk about the first one, “Lack of Confidence.”  Recently, we hired a new employee and over the past couple of weeks I have seen where a lack of confidence in being able to perform well at work has affected this person’s motivation.

It is not that there has been a lack of good training, it is the rough road of learning and being confident in their skill set that causes this “lack of motivation.”

As an employer or manager, it is important that constant support of a new employee be in place and encouragement in what they are able to do that will encourage them to become more confident.  Try and remember what it was like for yourself when you started a new job or task and felt that struggle during the learning process.

When we can let new hires know approximately how long it should take them to catch on and master tasks it will help them gauge their progress and know that they are either doing well or not.  Having a good training program is essential along with check-ins throughout the day and conversations about how they feel they are doing and what help they may need.

If these training standards are set up and explained from the beginning it can make the whole experience better for the employee and employer.

Keep moving forward,

Tina

 

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3 Tips to Help You Express Your Frustrations At Work

Work isn’t always a happy place and if you are like most people, you probably get frustrated with your job every now and then.  At times, you may even feel like you have had enough and it is time to quit.  But you don’t.  What stops you from quitting?

Is it that you realize jobs are pretty hard to come by now?  Maybe you took a real good look at your job and counted all of the positives that it brings to you and your employer?

Frustrations can cause us to make poor decisions at work.  We need to take a few minutes to step back and deal with what the frustration is about properly.  Is it a certain situation that is frustrating or is it the job as a whole?

Dealing with situations that are upsetting at work can be hard especially if there are poor lines of communication, but nonetheless they need to be addressed.  Our frustrations need to be brought to the attention of management or the business owner so that they can be dealt with and resolved.  Below are a couple of tips on how to prepare for such a discussion to make it go smoother and keep the lines of communication open.

  • Write down what it is that you are frustrated with.
  • Write what you think the cause of it is.
  • Write what you think can be the answer to fixing the problem.

Then ask for a time to speak to your manager or employer.  Make sure you really know what you want to say and how to communicate it clearly.  In doing so your manager or employer will know that this is serious to you because you have taken the time to prepare and have brought a possible solution to resolve the situation.

If we do not deal with what is frustrating us, it can eventually lead to depression, anger, stress, insomnia or other health-related issues.  Health and happiness are important factors for all employees to have in order to make the workplace one that has a good environment, not only for the employees but for the customers your business serves.

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Think Happy Thoughts

“Stop focusing on how stressed you are and remember how blessed you are.  It could be so much worse.” ~ Unknown

(Boy, I really needed to read this today! How about you?)

 

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Conflict Can Equal Progress In The Workplace

Conflict is bound to happen at work, but there are advantages to it.  Without conflict, nothing would change.  If you are dissatisfied with how a system works and someone else thinks it is okay, or if there were no conflict in opinion, there would not be a chance to improve the system and create a positive change.

Here are three advantages to conflict:

  1. Conflict can help us grow.  We learn about what others like or do not like and we can develop different ways to do and look at situations.
  2. Conflict makes life more interesting. How boring would life be if we all thought the same way?  When someone at work disagrees with you on how to do something or thinks they have a better way, this could allow filters to be broken down, thus bringing forth more interesting ideas.  When everyone in the group is always agreeing with each other, work systems can get boring or stagnant- how much fun is that?
  3. Conflict strengthens relationships.  Working through disagreements and coming out on the better side draws people closer.  Their respect for each other strengthens and they know they can withstand disagreements.  They also know that next time they have a conflict, they have history to draw on to get through the conflict easier.

Conflict is a natural part of working together as humans and working through conflict will make our relationships better.  By understanding this conflict does not seem as bad as we always think it is.

How do you handle conflict in your workplace? If you need help in dealing with workplace conflict, take a look at Forbes’ article Five Keys To Dealing With Workplace Conflict   or, contact me for a personal consultation.

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Is Eye Contact Really That Important?

The other day I was conducting interviews for a new staff member and had an interesting experience with one of the candidates.  While asking some key questions the candidate would answer appropriately but would then shift her eyes away from mine.

At first, I thought she was nervous, but this continued for several questions when asking about her past job experience.  My first thought was “what is she concerned about?” I did a good background check and she came out with flying colors and both of her previous employers would re-hire her.

I quickly thought I would change the questions I was asking from previous work experience to “What do you like to do in your spare time?”  Bingo! Immediately she connected with me telling me of her children and what they liked to do and the hobbies they had as a family.  She lit up and began to relax and we had a great discussion as she told me about herself, her family and then she began talking about her work experience.

She made eye contact with me throughout the rest of the interview.  I am so glad I thought to change-up the interview questions so I could find out more about this candidate and make the determination if she was the best match for our practice.  Had I continued on the path I was headed I would have missed out on getting to know this person better.

We did hire this candidate and she has been absolutely great this first week.  She has even come up to me and asked if I was doing okay and if there was anything she could help me with.  It really pays to take the time to get to know the people you are interviewing.  It took a bit longer in the process but behind those nervous eyes was a real jewel of a human being.

While eye contact is really important, so is the effort of trying to get to know the person you are speaking with by using other communication tactics.

“If you take the time to get to know someone the rewards are tenfold, either good or bad” ~ T.C. Totaro

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Are You a Giver?

I just re-read a great little book that left me inspired to continue to be a giver.  What is a giver?  I guess it depends on who you are, what it is that you do and if you have the desire to do it at a higher level. The book I’m referring to is called “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg & John David Mann. I’ve included a link below for more information.

This book is a parable about how we can make a difference in those that we work with and those that we serve each day.  It causes you to answer questions like, “Does what you do add value to others?”  This book is full of powerful little statements that make you think about how you live your life.

One of the statements that spoke to my business sense was, “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than what you take in payment.”  Wow, if that doesn’t make you think about how you run your business I’m not sure what will.

If you want to be uplifted and inspired in a wonderfully positive way I suggest you read this little book and it’s companion books.

Keep moving forward,

Tina

 

The Go-Giver

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Managing Employees Poorly

Most medical professionals receive training in emergency first aid.  Not only do they receive training during school they need to receive continued training every 2-3 years by attending a course and taking a test to receive their emergency first aid card.

Not much has changed in the course for years, but the need to have the information refreshed in the minds of these professionals is critical as they never know when an emergency might arise that they need to immediately respond to.  Keeping their skills and knowledge fresh allows them to react quickly and appropriately.

Last year, my husband (who is a physician) and I were in an airport waiting in line to board a plane.  As we watched the passengers unload, so we could load, I noticed a woman coming up the ramp who looked ill.  As I mentioned it to my husband this woman started to fall to the ground.  My husband quickly jumped into action and grabbed this woman and laid her down on the ground.  He then went right into doctor mode checking vitals, asking her questions so he could assess her situation, and making this woman comfortable while waiting for the emergency crew to arrive.

Thank goodness this woman did not need CPR, but the fact that my husband was ready and knew how to perform procedures that could save a life was very appreciated by all who stood by.  The first aid review courses play a big part in keeping medical personnel as quick first responders.

In the workplace, management staff should also have to review or take periodic management courses to keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date.

Continuing education is important because our skills can get dull and we can forget important points of being a manager.  If managers do not keep their skills sharp they can be the cause of an emergency situation at work.

The article below discusses the “Top 10 Mistakes Managers Make Managing People.”  From discussions that I have had with managers, I think this list is pretty accurate.

From the list, here are a few of the mistakes that I hear most often from staff personnel:

1. The treatment of employees unequally.

2. A failure to react to problems and issues that will fester if ignored.

3. Failure to communicate effectively and withhold important information from staff.

4. Failure to trust employees.

A manager has a tough job; there are so many aspects to it.  This list provides good reminders to the rules of successful management skills.  After reading them, which points you hear most often from employees about their managers?

Top Ten Mistakes Managers Make

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