Dealing with an Abrasive Doc

shouting doctorOnce I month I visit a local physicians practice group for 2 hours of leadership training and real-time performance management coaching. At one of these sessions, a Practice Manager asked me about a frustrating situation with a doctor, one that is, unfortunately, all too common.

”What do I do with a doc that constantly goes crazy on us?”

He described a physician who has angry, confrontational reactions to any and all hiccups, delays, questions, or problems that arise during the course of the day. Large, small, or common, it doesn’t matter. These violent outbursts are regular, predictable, and are directed toward the staff much of the time. This behavior has resulted in a constant quest, by the staff, to avoid this man at all costs. They all dread the days when they are scheduled to work under him.

So what’s a leader to do? Here are 5 strategies to Deal with an Abrasive Doc: Continue reading

Who’s the Boss?

CCL coverThe following is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Cure for the Common Leader: What Physicians & Managers Must Do to Engage and Inspire Healthcare Teams, scheduled for release on November 1.

Ask your front desk person who is in charge of the practice overall. What will she say? Ask her who her boss is. Does she give the same answer?

In many healthcare settings employees interact with two levels of supervisory authority: the operational leaders charged with their day-to-day supervision, and physicians. The office manager, unit director, nurse coordinator, or practice manager oversees the day-to-day operations of the site and the duties of team members. These managers often hire, train, and supervise the employee. They coordinate the employee’s schedule, answer their questions, and serve as the primary liaison between employee and employer. Physicians, on the other hand, possess a different kind of power. Continue reading

5 Retreat Activities to Ignite Team Performance

retreat“Saying I don’t have time to attend training is like saying I don’t have time to stop driving the car to fill up for gas.”

If I knew the source of this quote I would gladly credit him or her for this pithy analogy. I’ve shared this quote repeatedly during my career because it highlights, quite nicely, the flaw in the “I don’t have time” argument. If you don’t set time aside to refuel, you eventually won’t go anywhere. Continue reading

Cure For The Common Leader

I’m thrilled to announce that next month, in partnership with the Allegheny County Medical Society, I will be leading a robust leadership and people management seminar for healthcare supervisors here in Pittsburgh, PA. Healthcare leaders at all levels often struggle with people management questions like: Continue reading

(Video blog!) Healthcare Managers: Why You Should Be On Twitter

Twitter graphicsGot 10 minutes? Last month I hosted a webinar on how healthcare managers can leverage Twitter as a source of information, insight, and ideas to help them navigate their jobs more successfully. I’ve packaged highlights into a 10 minute video (below). Continue reading

20 Minute Patient-Centered Care Activity: Needs-Wants-Emotions-Stereotypes

free activity downloadA couple of years ago I attended several days of training with the Disney Business Institute.  I thoroughly enjoyed much of what was shared in the DBI and often find myself thinking back to one thing or another I heard there.

On one of the days I spent with them we learned a lot about how they, as an organization, cultivate a service culture across the enterprise. While your level of fan-dom for all things Disney may vary, we can all agree that they are world-renowned for customer service.

One way they stay service-minded is by continually talking about the needs, wants, emotions, and stereotypes of their guests. These are several factors that define “who” their guests are when they walk through the door at a Disney themepark. Of all the things I heard that day this angle in particular stood out to me because of how applicable it is to healthcare settings. And since the DBI trainers encouraged us to find ways to explore these dynamics in our professional environments I wrote up a brief staff development activity based on the Needs-Wants-Emotions-Stereotypes model they shared.

I used this activity in a variety of settings and in every instance it led to an easy but powerful dialogue about all the forces at work on patients. I’ve decided to publish it here for your own use.

The activity, which can be done in as little as 20 minutes, asks personnel to brainstorm and list all the needs, wants, emotions, and stereotypes patients face. Participants use their own experiences to define each, then recount effective service behaviors they did (or did not) experience in all four areas. Participants then return to the provider perspective by using the lists they made to collectively outline who “our” patient is and what “we” can do to meet them where they are at. An optional activity is included which has participants construct an individualized action plan for behavior change and partner with a colleague for implementation. By revisiting their experiences as patients, staff are quickly reminded of what it “feels like” to be a patient. By identifying associated service behaviors, participants assign value to them, increasing the likelihood that they will appear in patient interactions.

This activity is a tool for physicians, directors, managers, or chief clinical officers regularly looking for diverse ways to continue cultivating empathy. And by taking the added step of defining behaviors, it lends itself to performance improvement after-the-fact.

The activity can be done as part of a staff meeting, retreat, team huddle, or professional development exercise.  A PDF of the facilitation guide can be downloaded by clicking here: N-W-E-S Patient-Care Activity.

My only request is that if you use this activity, you come back here and tell me about it.  How did it go? Was it useful? What kind of group did you use it with and what was their reaction?  Share using the comments box below.  Enjoy!  ~Joe