By Kim Bassett
Hospitals have numerous requirements and deadlines. Some are self-imposed; most are required by the many regulatory bodies that govern the work we do. Some deadlines are absolute and there is absolutely zero room for delay. It may seem like just semantics, but how you frame your “orders,” or rather “requests” (see what I did there?) has a huge impact on your team.
Your communication style affects everything from employee attitude to productivity and even their longevity within the organization. Although it only takes a few seconds to adjust your communication style from situation to situation, it does take practice.
Consider the following scenario. You have a group on your team that routinely miss paperwork deadlines such as employee evaluations or credentialing requirements. These delays will affect regulatory compliance and ultimately patient care. How do you get this group to understand the importance of this documentation and the necessity of meeting the deadlines?
Here’s the breakdown of the positive request approach:
- Ensure the team understands the importance. Is this requirement something necessary to meet a regulatory requirement?
- Communicate how this request benefits them, their patients and employees. When you make the ask, state it from the perspective of how completing the document or task on time will make their job easier or improve a situation. Will this positively affect their employees or patients?
- Make them feel appreciated. Let them know how much you appreciate all that they currently do and that you could not do without them.
- Move the focus to the patients, or whomever will benefit from the request being fulfilled. Once the connection is made to how this task benefits others, it may inspire action.
- Be gracious and genuine. This is similar to making them feel appreciated with a slight difference. Instead of recognizing the job that they do, listen to how they respond to your request and respond graciously to any affirmation you hear that indicates the request will get done.
Although it sounds easy it can take more time and patience to implement. Take a few minutes before making the request to think through how you positively want to frame your request. No one likes to be ordered about or made to feel like they aren’t doing their job to your satisfaction. Using a positive request approach will garner not only better results, but also a better work environment with happier employees. A complete win-win for leadership.