Patients and clients experience a lot of different emotions when it comes to your services, right? Some come in like lions and go out purring with contentment. Some come in like tigers and go out like tigers. The staff of your practice are pretty much confronted with a total cross-section of humanity and not all of them are easy to deal with.
As a result, your staff can be infected by these negative emotions coming into the practice and warfare can sometimes erupt unexpectedly over some big or little issue. Sides may be taken, lines may be drawn, and words may be exchanged that are not on the positive side.
How to Take Control
As the leader of the practice, the first thing in order to take control is that you must not take a side and/or succumb to the negative emotions yourself. Probably easier said than done but yet, quite vital to a positive outcome.
The first step upon observing or hearing the negative emotions is to find out exactly what happened. Be as neutral as you can while you calmly collect the information. Picture yourself holding a clipboard and interviewing him, her or them.
Acknowledge all communications given to you. Being heard and knowing you have been heard are very often a handling all by itself. “I hear you.” “Thank you very much for letting me know what happened.” “Thank you for your insights on the situation.” Once you have acknowledged, absorb the information and process it as objectively as you can. See both sides of the situation.
The key to handling is NOT to tell them what you think or what to do. It is to get them to communicate with each other if it is a situation of two staff. Get them to work it out with you there to mediate if necessary. If it is one staff member who was negatively affected by a patient or client, gently ask what they think they should logically do about the situation. Sometimes it is a personal matter with someone outside of the office but they brought the upset in with them this morning, in which case you do Step 1, 2 and 3 anyway.
Oil on troubled waters
Keeping yourself as high emotionally as you can during the whole process, and seeing the good in the people you are dealing with, will help you bring about a calmer scene as well as infecting the others concerned with some positive emotions. Kind of a win-win situation!