Think Like a Doctor, Part 10: Give Praise Where Praise is Due

Uncategorized Dec 27, 2019

We’ve reached the finish line of our 10-part series on training your staff to think like a doctor, but the journey for you will continue for as long as you’re in practice.  If you missed one of the last nine blog posts, click here to catch up on what we’ve covered. 

Up to this point, we’ve focused mostly on how to turn negatives into positives: creating problem solvers, giving feedback, and fixing accountability issues, to name a few.  But maintenance is just as important as development, so don’t neglect what’s already working well for you.  

One of the most important responsibilities you have as the practice leader is to continually encourage good behavior as it occurs.  In our last post, we talked about how staff will likely not try to improve if they think they have nothing to improve upon.  At the same time, they also need to know what they’re doing well so they continue down that path. 

Praise is the easiest and most cost-effective way to do this.  Even a few seconds of acknowledgment can go a long way in showing your appreciation and reinforcing their commitment to their work.  

Here’s how to praise staff the right way: 

Give Praise Immediately

Don’t wait.  When you see a staff member working hard or doing something exceptional, let them know you noticed.  They’ll know you’re watching and that nothing is too little to not have an impact.

Remember, the opinions about us from those we respect significantly influences our feelings of self-value.  

Match Reward with Effort

If you choose to offer rewards for a job well done, make sure the reward matches the effort.  The reward doesn’t necessarily need to be monetary, but don't discount that value either; after all, we all have bills to pay, and a modest monetary reward in recognition of some outstanding accomplishment can generate a pretty good sense of value; just don't overdo it.  You don't want to look like a cash machine ready to harvest.  In most cases, recognition, and extra responsibility equating to trust can be enough to encourage them to continue to aim even a little higher. 

Be Genuine

Do not give praise for the sake of praise or offer up meaningless compliments. Gratuitous compliments do nothing to boost morale. Praise needs to be earned, not given out like Halloween candy, and you need to be genuine and consistent about your reasons for recognizing employees. 

Forced and empty compliments can also seem patronizing, and like anything 'overdone', other team members will see right through it. If it looks patronizing, you will only create the effect of damaging the respect the staff has for you.  

Providing empty praise also creates an environment where everyone expects to receive a trophy because they showed up to work for the day.  There's a fine line separating genuine, and artificial praise.  Like any other skill, it will take practice. I never said this was going to be easy: simple, yes, easy, no. 

It could take weeks or months to come up with one single compliment for some team members. If you find you are having trouble finding a way to compliment someone, it could either mean you haven’t set the right expectations for them or possibly they aren’t a good fit for your practice.  

Give credit when it is due. An appropriately placed compliment's value increases exponentially and so will the respect and admiration you receive from your team. 

PANDA Perio now offers a master course for easy implementation. This enhanced course is called “How to teach your staff to think like a doctor." We utilize the regular training components of PANDA College and incorporate an extra 10 step series to help strategize implementation in less time by showing you how the team thinks and what they need to know in order to effectively get the inside scoop about how you think. This strategy puts everyone on the same page and empowers your staff, in turn, creating cohesiveness and lowered stress.  We also offer the standard full course curriculum that comes free with purchase on any license of PANDA Perio. 

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