There is a saying… “Employees do exactly what you show them”
I’m not sure if there is anything more humbling than seeing your bad habits being mirrored by your
The standards that you set in the clinic are the ones you allow yourself to get away with.
So if you have expectations of your team, then you’d better start by upholding them yourself.
Now how does this relate to training your team members?
Well, they need, not only to understand what you expect, they also need to understand why that’s your
expectation, and that reason cannot be arbitrary.
Manager: your notes, running on time and making sure every patient has another appointment is crucial
to running our business. (Internal dialogue – I don’t want to be exposed in case there is litigation and I
also don’t want them burning through new clients especially ones that weren’t referred to them in the
Employee: ok, great. (Internal dialogue – they don’t do their notes so why should I.. and, they only just
want every patient to come in for the money.. hmm.. )
It’s so fascinating that both parties want success and go about it from very different angles.. and let’s
just say, this dialogue leaves a lot to be desired from a management and leadership perspective.
You hire someone, they come on, and you see that there is huge risk that you need to manage simply
due to the perceived (your perception and the patient perception) gap between them and you… Where
do you get them to start and how do you position it?
Do you improve their hands on skills?
Do you improve their communication skills?
Do you improve their assessment/diagnostic/patient management skills?
Do you get them working on their personal development?
Hands on skills:
If they cant figure out what’s going on, they’re too technical in their explanations of things and they lose
the patient in amidst the jargon… Then at the very least let’s get them giving the patient a great hands
on experience. Yes, it’s low value care, but it can buy you time until you build your skills in
communication, assessment and offer opportunities for personal development along the way, especially
when patients cancel..
Do you improve their communication skills?
93% of which is non-verbal. Getting them to build a great rapport can offer greater opportunities to
create a therapeutic alliance, one where there is a strong understanding between the patient and
practitioner.. building skills can happen in the meantime. Slight conundrum.. is the team member
struggling to communicate with patients? Or do they struggle to communicate in general? I’ll let you be
the judge but there is a great saying.. “how you do one thing, is how you do everything” – if they
struggle to communicate, do they know that? How will you tell them and how will it be received?
What’s the implementation like? Often, bad communicators deliver messages poorly, but the key is to
realise, they’re likely to interpret your communication poorly too… Is this an easy fix? Well, it depends
on your communication and how that is being received..
Do you improve their assessment/diagnostic/management skills?
Making them sharper clinicians, more accurate in their prescription and concise in their rationale, can
bring serious value to the planning towards a goal. So much of this however is dependant on the
strength of the therapeutic alliance. It contributes to it of course, but it can all be for nothing if there is
no patient buy-in. In saying that, without a good rationale, explanation and clarity of the problem and
the plan of attack going forward, can also limit your alliance too..
Do you work on their personal development:
Why, what when where and how.
Do they even understand themselves? Which mode of communication suits them as a starting point?
What are they good at? What are their areas to develop? Can they feel and describe their emotion#? Do
they know where they are going in life? Why are they even working at this clinic? How will you portray
yourself and what is your personal brand? Why are you a healthcare practitioner?
Communicating without an appreciation of your perceived coordinates in the world is kind of like setting
a course for a ship, without knowing which direction it is even facing. This is where we see people
learning to communicate, but not being themselves and coming across inauthentic. Understanding
others journey starts by understanding your own, and meeting the patient where they’re at starts by
knowing how far you need to travel to meet them.
Explaining a diagnosis starts by learning about what type of person the patient is? Will that have a
placebo or nocebo effect?
Providing a great hands on session, might not be what the patient wants. You might have lost them the
minute you asked them to take their shirt off… Did you even ask if they have anything else on their
The consultation is a psychological dance between the patient and practitioner, and it’s limited by the
breadth and depth of the practitioners understanding of themselves and then their ability to perceive
the patient’s psychological capacity.
But it’s not as simple as… You need to personally develop…
Not everyone is open to that.
Not everyone trusts you enough..
You might not have the skills to help them develop..
All of this is ok – take your time, because it takes time!
Wait patiently for the opportunities for the practitioners to come to you with a problem. Help them
understand how the problem is making them feel, understand their concerns and ask them what
options they think they have to solve the problem… Only then, will they be able to think for themselves
and start to ask for and trust your opinion… And it’s because you have them the chance to think for