Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It’s International Hug-an-Assistant Day (Not Really)

Stop what you’re doing, go to your nearest assistant, and give him or her a big ol’ hug. Actually, on second thought, mayyyybe not. This might get a few of you in trouble. We don’t need that. 

My message today still rings true, though: Be nice to your team members. All of them. All the time!

I just went through the yin and yang of weeks at the office. You know exactly what I’m talking about. It doesn’t matter what the schedule looks like some days or weeks. Sometimes, you just end up with a cluster, and other times, you turn around and wonder how you got through the day unscathed. Often unpredictable, your quality of work life doesn’t always depend upon the patients, procedures, or staff. It’s not always in line with the amount of sleep you got the night before or what you ate for breakfast.

I know what it does depend on though: Your attitude.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a perfectionist. (I’m thinking back to days of reorganizing the fridge as a toddler or getting ticked because my ninth-grade English teacher gave me a B+ when she didn’t like my essay outlining my theory on dreams — and I still think she’s wrong.) Perfectionism is a blessing and a curse. Sure, it results in consistent restorative work and systematic approaches to leading, teaching, organizing, etc., but it also leads to frustration on my part when one of my teammates doesn’t have the right instrumentation at the ready, misses a clear scaling/root-planing opportunity, or breaks an onlay during try-in — the little things. It’s a daily experience and something I’ve battled in my short career. Once “it” happens, you can easily let “it” influence the rest of that patient’s visit, your morning/day, or even your entire week. I’ve been there, and it ain’t no fun!

We can do our best to teach, equip, and try to prevent these slips, but in reality, much of it is out of our control. Just like on the football field, as a quarterback, you can toss the prettiest pass downfield, but the play is successful only if the receiver catches the ball. If he doesn’t catch it, shake it off, and call another play. You can only control your part. Your attitude has a lot to do with whether or not the receiver catches the next pass you throw him. It’s also the only thing you can completely control in a situation where you aren’t thrilled with a teammate’s actions or lack thereof.

So I ask you to join me, not in giving your assistants random hugs, because … well, just no! But rather, join me in shifting your attitude in any given situation. And if you flunk your test, buy ’em coffee. Donuts. Chick-fil-A. A new car! Kidding on the last one. You get what I mean. Your attitude has the biggest influence on how that same teammate reacts the next time a similar situation arises. A poor attitude likely will result in the same actions (or even worse). A positive attitude shows compassion, support, and confidence in that teammate. These characteristics can only lead to good things.

So, put a smile on that face! And remember, no hugs. Just coffee and donuts.

Donald Murry III, DMD

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