With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’m sure everyone wishes that’s what life was – all love. Well, shouldn’t it be? Even when it comes to tough love – it may be difficult, it might not always feel good, but it might be the best way to love someone at the time.
When dealing with patients, it can be very personal. You can even feel intense emotions that dictate how you handle a particular circumstance.
This reminds me of the book The Four Agreements as it talks about not taking things personally and not making assumptions as if you know everything about everybody. You don’t.
There’s no benefit to rushing to judgment or get your feelings hurt. Instead, remain objective. It’s an easier position to take and it allows you to stay in control of situations and do what’s best for your patients.
I see it every single day, team members and doctors alike, thinking that they are doing a patient a favor by under diagnosing or lessening treatment or acting apologetic or sympathetic about the investment or worse trying to save the patient money by downgrading their health options before the patient even asks.
I can tell you right now there is most likely someone in your practice undermining your goals because they are trying to ‘take it easy’ on the patient. What they are really doing is ruining the integrity of the experience, betraying the clinical philosophy of the practice, and ignoring how you really show love to your patients.
Loving someone isn’t lying to them about the state of their health or downplaying treatment that will actually come back to harm them later, is it?
I know, you don’t like it when I phrase it this way but it’s what’s happening – there is no other way to soften the blow.
This is why one practice can thrive and another practice can struggle… one is good at loving their patients in a way that moves patients forward with the health they deserve and another at just making them happy by telling them what they want to hear placating them at the risk of their health.
I challenge you to love your patients with acts of true service every single time. That starts by always telling them the truth and being committed to what is in their best interest – even when it’s the hard thing to do and not what they want to hear.
By the way, the exact same thing goes for yourselves and your team members.
To me, a strong relationship is really one that is built to withstand tough love. Anyone can show someone superficial love and just make them happy in the moment – they can’t often sit down and really share about how they are feeling whether it’s about themselves, the other person, or something else entirely.
This is also why I write these Monday Huddles to you. I want you to have conversations that you wouldn’t normally have with your team. I want your interactions, dialogue, relationships to be deeper with each other than just going through the motions of the day in a dental practice.
As they say, we want love to be a verb and it’s your mission to lead by example and begin first with yourself.
We are almost always hardest on ourselves, but remember to be kind in the way you talk to yourself, how you feel about yourself, what you believe about yourself, and of course the truth you tell to yourself.
Today, as a team, talk through some of these questions…
What can you do to create a more loving environment in your practice?
In what ways can you do a better job of genuinely showing your patients love – including truth telling?
When and where can you do a better job of tough love with your patients for their benefit?
How can you be nicer to, more forgiving of, and loving in all ways to yourself?
Now it’s time to celebrate Valentine’s Week and show everyone how much you truly care, especially your patients (even when it’s difficult).