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The ADAA Creed - Cooperation

Posted Dec 30 2009 12:47pm

"To be a co-worker – creating a spirit of cooperation and friendliness rather than one of fault-finding and criticism."

Why does something that sounds so simple, straightforward, and positive, often seem so hard to do?  I think that we all have former experiences that have taught us that many times, people just don't do what they should do.  We've all been hurt when we've tried to be open and honest, so we go to the next situation a little more guarded and wary.  Get hurt again and the armor gets a little more heavily reinforced.  Why, then, do some people seem to remain open and trusting?  They've done the work it takes to understand the difference between what you have control over and what you have no control over.

For instance, you have no control over a co-worker who slacks off behind the scenes, but always appears busy whenever the doctor or manager is around.  Left unchecked our mind will spin quite a tale.  "Look at her, she's just trying to make it look like she's a hard worker.  She thinks she has him fooled.  And look at him, he has no clue.  He just walks around with blinders on."  Well, how do you feel after all that?  Not very cooperative or friendly, I imagine. And the kicker is, you can never really know if the story you're telling yourself is even true.  You're better off doing what you feel you should be doing and not worrying about fairness or the motives of others.  Approach co-workers with cooperation as a goal and don't let anyone dissuade you from that intention.  If a co-worker doesn't share that ideal, you can't change them, you can only choose to do the right thing yourself.

Always look for ways to serve.  By serving your patients and your co-workers you create goodwill for yourself and the practice.  This will lead to increased satisfaction for you in your career. When you see someone struggling, help them.  Don't worry about who gets the credit or who will know you helped.  You know you helped and so does the other person.  Remember the goal is patient service and satisfaction.  Helping someone else learn how to do something better, or giving them a hand when they are having difficulty will make them feel camaraderie with you and enhance the culture in the practice.

Fault-finding and criticizing is ugly and serves no one.  Don't criticize, advise.  Criticism takes something away, advise contributes.  People like to be around people who make them feel good.  I have a friend who works in our local oral surgeon's office.  I worked with her about 10 years ago and she brings a special light everywhere she goes.  When anyone sees her coming, they light up.  Everyone wants her attention to settle on them, even for a minute.  My boss is like that, too.  He enjoys everyone and they feel it.  He lifts spirits and causes smiles.  These two people enhance their workplaces.  You can be that person in your office.  To some people, like the two I mentioned, it seems to come naturally.  The rest of us may need to work on it, but it's worth the effort.

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