In last month’s “From the College,” we began looking at a management cycle, called the Five Rs of physician leadership, designed to help physician leaders move from being managing-managers to coaching-leaders.
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Explore This IssueApril 2009
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We started with a look at the first two Rs—recruitment and realization. This month, we will take a look at the rest of the cycle, and how each of these can help you successfully lead employees in your practice, department, or institution.
Everyone wants to be recognized for his or her work—it’s human nature. Unfortunately, many employees feel that they only hear from their leaders when something is wrong. Savvy physician leaders will recognize and openly praise their employees for hard work and great accomplishments because they understand that this is a low-cost way of motivating employees to maximize performance.
At the same time, it is important for physician leaders to understand that, although we all appreciate recognition, we don’t all appreciate receiving it in the same way. Stephen Paul Robbins, author of The Truth About Managing People…and Nothing But the Truth, advises leaders to use multiple ways of recognizing their employees: verbal and written, public and private, and individual and team. The following are some cost-effective, simple, and fun ways of recognizing employees:
- Offer praise—verbally and written; publicly or privately. Calling an employee into your office and offering praise (without discussing anything else) is a great way to boost morale.
- Share praise from others. If you receive a note from a patient regarding the quality care they received, post it for your staff to enjoy and feel proud of. If a patient’s praise specifically mentions an employee, make time to specifically mention that employee for his or her quality work.
- Provide a staff breakfast or lunch. There is always something special about taking time to break bread with your staff. It gives you the opportunity to socialize and show appreciation.
- Establish traditions. Holiday and summer parties and other traditions give employees something exciting to look forward to and gives you the opportunity to create a fun work environment.
- Provide employee awards and gifts, and find a fun way to present them to employees. Gifts engraved with your practice’s or institution’s logo and awards (such as employee of the month) allow you to offer a token of appreciation and give employees the opportunity to display a tangible sign of their hard work.
- Offer opportunities for growth, training, and cross-training. Encourage and praise continuing education, and provide opportunities for employees to put new skills to use. When an employee shows the effort to increase his or her skill set, it is important to find a way to allow him or her to grow in the position. This doesn’t always come in the form of a promotion. It could be as simple as asking an employee to sit in an important meeting or handle a new task.
Ultimately, recognition comes down to encouraging and empowering your employees. Providing opportunities to have some fun at work and showing that you see the effort an employee is putting in really goes a long way.