One of my pet peeves (and it appears I have a lot of them) is being led to an exam room by a receptionist who puts me in exam room 4 saying, “Someone will be with you shortly.”
Someone? Someone who? Who will be with me shortly? I sit and I wait. For someone.
It would be so much nicer if the receptionist said, “Okay you’re going to be right here in exam room 4. Tom will be your medical assistant today and he’ll be in to take care of you in just a few minutes. Tom is great. He’s one of the best we have here and patients love him. You’re in good hands.”
Three great things come from those simple words.
- A nervous patient starts to relax. She has heard that this other care provider is good at his job and is good with patients. She feels better already.
- Employees actually do a better job after a set of expectations has been set. I step up my game when I know someone has heard that I’m good at my job. If someone says I’m warm and friendly, I am turning up the warm and friendly for sure.
- Co-workers get along better when they get into the habit of speaking well of one another. Less gossip and more praise mean higher morale. And by the way, patients pick up on that, too.
But what are you supposed to do if you’re handing a patient off to Tom and you don’t like Tom? Do you lie and make something up so the patient feels better? Of course not. Find out a little something about Tom, like how long he’s worked here or how many years of experience he has.
Maybe patients like Tom just fine, even if you don’t. Try this, “Okay, here we are in room 4. Tom is going to be your medical assistant today. He’s been with us for about three years now and patients love him. I’m sure you’re going to love him. He will be here in just a few minutes.”
That wasn’t so hard, was it?
And you know, there’s a very good chance that after hearing you say nice things about him every day, Tom might actually become easier to work with. You might start to genuinely like him. You’ll like coming to work, patients will pick up on the energy and collegiality around the office, and nervous patients aren’t so nervous anymore.
All because you managed up.
What’s stopping you?