The person we hired as a practice manager is very smart and good at her job, but her lack of communication is driving me crazy. She doesn’t respond to small talk, and I can’t seem to build a relationship with her. I keep reaching out, but she’s all about work, work, work. I don’t know if I did something to offend her, but I’m uncomfortable, and I find myself avoiding her. What do you recommend?
What we have here is a difference in social styles. Based on your behavior, it sounds like you’re an amiable. She’s either an analytical or a driver, depending on how assertive she is when she gets her ideas across. One style isn’t any better than another. Understanding how you’re different will help you approach the new manager in a more positive way.
The main difference between you and her is how much you focus on feelings. Amiables are very concerned about feelings and want everyone to get along. They tend to ask questions rather than make statements. The worst amiable stereotype is a Chatty Cathy who never gets anything done.
Analyticals also tend to ask questions rather than give orders, but they are focused on accuracy almost to the exclusion of all else. The worst analytical stereotype is “detail-oriented.”
Drivers want to get things done. They’re task-focused and assertive. The worst stereotype of a driver is a workaholic. Neither the analytical nor the driver pays much attention to feelings, especially at work.
Remember that this IS work, and even though you’d really like it to be otherwise, you and the new manager are probably not going to be best friends. She may be overwhelmed by all of the friendly overtures you’ve been making. She may think you’re in her space way too much and not letting her get her work done. That doesn’t mean you need to avoid her. Try out some of these techniques and see if she’ll warm up to you:
- Emphasize the rational, objective aspects of the issue you’re dealing with.
- Speak slowly and quietly.
- Be more formal in your speech or manner than you would be otherwise.
- Present pros and cons, as well as options.
- Don’t overstate or exaggerate the benefits of your ideas.
- Follow up in writing.
- Be on time, and keep it brief.
- Show how your approach has little risk.
We have a 24-hour hospital that has grown tremendously recently, and we have been hiring new staff just to keep up with that growth. We have been seeing weekly revenue of $80,000 and know we could easily generate $100,000 per week.
We want to ensure that we not just adding bodies and look more closely at the level of reception and technician support we need to generate that level of revenue. Do you have a framework that you use to ensure that you are keeping staffing under control during rapid growth periods?
Great question! Generally speaking, you allocate 20% of production for technician and customer service representative (CSR) wages: 12% for techs; and 3% for CSRs, leaving 5% for benefits. A typical DVM generates $600K in revenue. That would mean $120K goes to tech and CSR support, or approximately 2 techs and .75 CSRs per DVM.
I caught my new receptionist in a bald-faced lie; I have this sneaking suspicion she’s done it more than once. How do I know when someone is lying to me? I don’t want to get duped!
People lie about many things: forgetting to lock the cage, liking your outfit, or why they’re late to work—again. Whatever the lie, it’s usually because they’re embarrassed, don’t want to upset someone, don’t want to get involved in petty hassles, or are avoiding punishment. Sometimes, liars lie due to more serious psychological problems, such as delusions or extreme vanity.
Any time you have to relate to people (your staff, your clients), it behooves you to know how to spot a lie. Actions speak louder than words, and it’s the body language you should pay attention to. Here are the signs to look for:
• Speaking in a high-pitched, fast-paced, stuttering voice
• Constantly swallowing and/or clearing throat
• Avoiding eye contact
• Looking around and looking out from the corners of their eyes
• Moistening their lips
• Blinking rapidly
• Rubbing the throat
• Crossing arms over their chest
• Constantly touching the face, especially the mouth, ears, and nose (as if covering them)
• Scratching the head or the back of the neck
• Closed, descending, and insecure poses
• Tapping hands or feet
• Always looking down
• Constantly moving from one place to another or constantly changing poses
• Projecting parts of their body (feet) to an escape route (door)
Obviously, just because someone exhibits one or more of these signs doesn’t make that person a liar. Sometimes, rapid blinking is caused by dry eyes, or throat clearing is a nervous tick. Use a combination of body language and other cues to make an educated guess about whether someone is telling the truth.