Really big people are, above everything else,
courteous, considerate and generous - not just to some people in some
circumstances - but to everyone all the time. Thomas J. Watson
Are you a really big person? Squirm, squirm, squirm. That's me, thinking of some of the times I haven't been so big. You, too? Oh, glad it's not just me! I'm thinking of times that I've been snappish. One of our staff members always goes into way to much detail answering a simple question. I know it, and I expect it when I ask her something. Usually I'm really big about it and can be patient. Except...when I'm really busy and I just need a yes or no, darn it! That's when I'm not so big and I snap at her. The look on her face tells me that I've hurt her and I that's when I feel pretty small. In the end, it hurts me as much as it hurts her. That's what Mr. Watson means in the quote when he says, "...all the time."
It's hard to be really big all the time. We're all just human, but that's really just an excuse, if you want to be a really big person, you have to commit to being corteous, considerate and generous to everyone, all the time. No ifs, ands or buts about it. That patient who just wants to keep talking even though you're 10 minutes behind for your next patient? Be courteous, enlist other staff to help save the situation. Grab someone who is available and ask them to help get your room set-up for the next patient. That gives the talker a chance to realize that she is holding you up and when she apologizes you can tell her you wish you could hear the rest of the story. That evening drop a note in the mail telling her how much you enjoyed chatting with her. Make her next appointment 10 minutes longer knowing that you'll need it.
How about the curmudgeon that makes you wonder what ever happened to make him so miserable. Can you be big with him? When you see his name on the schedule do you regale the team with examples of just how horrible he's been in the past, or do you commit to making today different? You never know what's going on behind that frown. Even if he never cracks a smile, your compassionate, courteous treatment might be the thing that helps him make it through another day. It's worth the effort when you think of it that way, isn't it?
We've all had to deal with the scaredy cat. They're usually drama queens to boot. Do you do what you can to alleviate their anxiety? C'mon, you have to go beyond the lukewarm pat on the arm. Think! How about some music with headphones so they don't have to listen to the whine of the handpiece, a warm neckroll that says, "I care." Explain the procedure as much as they want you to and let them know that you'll take breaks if they need them. Stop thinking of how annoying their behavior is and start thinking about how frightened they must be to act that way. We're all just people trying to get through the day, right?
It's easy to be nice to the nice. Don't stop, we all need the warm, fuzzy feedback we get from them. They're a slam dunk. But, if you want to be really big, give your best to the difficult, annoying, grouchy, unhappy and distant among us. Those are the ones that test your stuff. Those are the ones that let you know how big you really are.