I'm Sorry You Feel That Way
We all have our Achilles heel in our business, mine just happens to be feeling the need to satisfy every employee. I absolutely hate it when someone leaves the practice; I can’t help but take it personally. In my logical mind I know that I always do the best I can to help others but it’s not always enough. I’ll catch myself waking up at the crack of dawn with this on my mind or running through scenarios before going to bed. All the while I know that it’s impossible to make everyone happy, people are always going to leave, someone’s always going to make a negative comment and life does go on but it doesn’t always make it any easier.
As business owners we know how hard it is to keep the wheels turning, then add in managing staff and you’ve just taken it to a whole new level! You know how much time you spend working on ideas that will help your employees, thinking of incentives and appreciation gifts, scheduling out opportunities for growth, but do they know this? What about the time you spend buying toilet paper, getting the right printer that makes everyone’s job easier, making their pictures on the website look pretty? Does anyone realize how much time it takes to pick out health insurance policies that would meet the needs of your staff’s family members? What about the sacrifices that you make in your own family for the betterment of theirs? Sometimes I think the ones who don’t have to work “on” the business overlook all of the little pieces it takes to really make working “in” the business possible.
Do Your Employees Misbehave?
If they do, it’s probably your fault! I know, I know, we shouldn’t be pointing fingers but there’s one thing I’ve learned about business ownership and it’s that most of the time when employees are not showing appreciation, creating a toxic work environment, or trying to take advantage of you or your company’s leniency, it’s generally your fault.
It’s always a balancing act to show grace while at the same time enforcing consistency and adhering to expectations. Personally I’ve tried to “bend” the rules or make allowances and not one single time has it ever worked out to my advantage. I realize that people have lives outside of work; they have families, children and other responsibilities that in the grand scheme of things make work-related responsibilities just not that important. So I get it, which is why I’ll overlook certain behaviors and give people the benefit of the doubt. While I think I’m being a good human, what I’m usually doing is creating lack of consistency which in time causes employees to become disgruntled when the rules are enforced.
I’ve always told my children that I will give you absolutely anything as long as you appreciate it. I teach them how to react at their birthday parties when I know they may open gifts that they already have or might not like. I expect that adults have that same ability, to appreciate the efforts of others although you may not like the outcome, but that’s just not always the case. If I didn’t teach my children how to handle these types of situations, would it be their fault if they reacted in a way that I didn’t like? Or is it my responsibility to teach the expectation that I want to see?
With employees, we often set them up for failure due to our desire to please.
We do things for them like share profits, hire experts to help them grow, hire support staff to do the things they don’t like to do, continue to add billers to make sure they get paid and track things for them, hire content creators to make flyers for any type of event they want to host or participate in, hire an assistant to make their reminder phone calls, pay a therapist to make sure they haven’t forgotten any important paperwork, put our license on the line for them so that they can improve their clinical skills and grow their impact in the community…. the list goes on and on.
What I think sometimes happens is that there is a line that gets crossed and that’s when grace grossly interferes with the ability to sustain the business. You see, if we can do all the things listed above and still maintain a business that is profitable then that is absolutely amazing. That is my goal! But when things get in the way and the business becomes at risk because staff don’t like the rules, or moreover, they don’t like the rules (but the rules have never been enforced and now they are, and they don’t like it), you’re putting your business and all of your other staff members’ livelihood on the line, and that’s not okay.
You have to create good systems from the start that include boundaries and expectations that should not be bent. As much as you want to give grace and give special allowances, as soon as that is taken advantage of, it has to go. All people are important but you can’t risk the entire team for the sake of one. Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do and systems are going to evolve as policies change, but getting them right from the start gives your employees the best chance to succeed and flourish within your company.
While most things have to be adapted over time, the expectation for compliance is one that should always stay the same. I’m in year four of my group practice and this is still a lesson that I continue to learn daily. I know that when the powers above command a new order (insurance) that we must adapt. Although our policy, rule, or process might have to change, our expectation never should.
What boundaries and expectations do you have in your practice and what systems are in place to support them? Are you bending too much or showing too much grace? Is that now starting to look like resentment and disgruntled employees?
The fact is, we can’t please everyone. I had a teacher in high school once tell me, “Kasey, you just have to do what you can, and let the rest go.” As simple as it is I’ve never forgotten that. You’ll never see me back down from anything unless I know I’ve given 100% of my effort before I “let it go”. Although I like to fix problems, sometimes there’s nothing you can do because the problem at hand is not even your problem. Sometimes it’s that pesky little thing called transference and no matter what you do to try and make it better, you’re not going to change the outcome.
In my head I walk around saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” because most of the time I’m not sorry for my rules, policies or expectations, I’m just sorry that you don’t like them and choose not to live with them.
If you’re a business owner I challenge you to write down what you will bend on, what you absolutely will not, and what will have to be considered on a case by case basis. If you do this and are consistent with your reactions to all situations, your staff will likely feel more safe and secure since consistency is at the root of your business’ foundation! If you’re struggling implementing the systems needed ensure consistency, Mindsight Partners might be a good service for you to check out. With a whole team of over 15 experts, you’ll receive comprehensive practice support needed to scale.