Take-home message: Pay attention to what staff members are thinking. Failure to do so may mean others will inadvertently hear about the issue at hand.
Putting It In View
When peers ask if I ever tire of traveling, I enthusiastically reply: “No way. Traveling often has the reverse effect on me that it does on others. I go to new places, talk with folks who want to learn and at the same time, I have the opportunity to learn as well.”
To me, it is a win-win situation.
What do I learn? I learn what it is your staff and mine (by default) are thinking about.
It’s called “peripheral hearing” and I acquired this talent when I worked at the hospital. Most managers have this ability if they work in a large clinic or hospital setting.
Some say it is a form of inattentiveness—being able to have a conversation with someone while listening to other conversations around you. I call it survival.
In the clinic, you have to be able to focus on multiple scenarios at once. Almost an auditory triage process so to speak.
What patient appears ill in the waiting room? Who’s getting a little too vocal regarding their wait? Who’s holding it together by a thread and is ready to let it fly at any moment?
If you can achieve this talent, you often go home at the end of the day mentally fried. Unfortunately, this skill never shuts down with me. It’s always at full radar. Not only does it work in the clinic, it really kicks in at meetings and the airport.
Meetings and classes are an excellent time to talk with your staff. Either something in the class prompts them to ask questions, or vent, or they seek out instructors to ask for opinions on issues in their clinic lives.
At the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) last fall in Las Vegas, there was much discussion regarding certification, Meaningful Use, micromanaging physicians, and lastly, office politics. Office politics is a continual discussion.
What's on your staff's mind?