My employees can really be a pain. How do I get the best out of them?
Dear Dr. Gina,
Sometimes, I get so angry at my staff. Almost everything they do is frustrating me. They aren’t communicating with patients well, they’re complaining, and they even seem depressed to be at work! I pay them well and give them full benefits and this is how they repay me!? It’s insanity. How do you deal with your anger towards your staff and is this normal?
Boss Who Needs New Employees
Dear Boss Who Needs New Employees,
I completely understand your frustration. There are two main things that I believe you need to work on.
Take Responsibility and Create A High Morale In Your Office
I can tell by the way that you talk about your employees that your expectation is because you pay them and give them full benefits, they should be happy – period. However, there seems to be something going on in the office where the morale is low. The bottom line is that people don’t leave bad jobs: they leave bad bosses. While it can be scary, taking responsibility for your practice and your team is empowering. It really is up to you to create an environment that people like to work in. My favorite way to think of a dental practice owner is as the CEO – Chief Energizer Officer. It’s your job to cheer up the team, but if you don’t want to do this, then you need to hire a manager who will do it for you. It isn’t necessarily your job to motivate them or to be their therapist (i.e. no need to ask them if or why they are depressed), but it IS your responsibility to create a pleasant working environment. Leading your team in a positive way will get the results that you want out of them.
A lot of offices will give their employees surveys that ask the questions in regards to how comfortable their work environment is, if they are growing in their job, etc. A lot of times employees won’t answer with “I don’t feel that I’m being paid enough,” but they will respond with, “I don’t feel appreciated at work.” Why is this? It is usually the little things. They feel that they get mostly negative criticism about how they are doing and slim to none compliments.
We usually have opportunities to compliment our workers but we don’t always do it. We can give compliments such as, “I love that my consultation room is set up so well every time, you are so organized,” or, “I really enjoy when you are so friendly with our patients.” If you compliment your employees, they are going to want to keep satisfying you and doing a good job. They’re going to feel appreciated. But if your boss only picks up on things that are negative: you feel unappreciated and micromanaged. That is a recipe for feeling depressed at work. All of this to say, it is your responsibility to create morale and improve it.
Successful business coach Brian Tracy has a great strategy to make sure you give compliments to your employees. He recommends to have paper clips in your pocket each day to represent the compliments you need to give out to your employees. One paperclip = one compliment. This subconsciously forces you to look out for your team doing the right things. I would recommend that you start doing this and you will start to see your employees light up.
Dr. Gina Dorfman
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