What is it that makes people want to stay in a
healthcare job? Why do some employees look forward to their workday while others
only look forward to their day off? How is it that some employees can
effectively help others and their organization while also achieving personal
success and happiness for themselves?
I’ve studied this particular set of questions for over 30 years during my own healthcare career. In my early days as a healthcare employee, I tried to find the right balance that would allow me to achieve success for others and myself. Occasionally, I accomplished this balance, but I wasn’t sure or able to explain how I had achieved it. At other times, I was totally off-kilter. I was either taking care of too many “people problems” or, I was only looking out for myself, and not overly concerned about my customers, co-workers, or the organization.
It was never easy for me. Quite simply, I don’t think it comes easy for anyone. I’m sure you’ve felt the strain of maintaining this balancing act yourself. After all, we have to juggle so many different things in our healthcare jobs—some of which include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Achieving a sense of personal pride and accomplishment
- Working well with our colleagues
- Contributing to the organization
- Achieving patient satisfaction
- Meeting compliance regulations
- Receiving what we’re worth—financially and emotionally
As I moved into a healthcare speaking and consulting
career, these issues were still on the top of my mind. So, I began a special
project to find some answers. I wanted to discover the specific factors that
allow certain healthcare professionals to thrive in this field. I also wanted to
learn how some people are able to achieve great things for themselves while at
the same time enabling opportunities for others. To get this information, I
interviewed thousands of individuals, and visited hundreds of facilities
throughout the country.
What I discovered may surprise you.
Through my interviews and research, I discovered that success is not random. In fact, my research has indicated that successful individuals all use a specific set of skills, techniques, and tools on a daily basis. I have now categorized these traits and tools into 7 critical “keys.” While these keys take some initiative and hard work, any healthcare employee can practice them, and you’ll find that by doing so, the door to personal success and happiness will swing wide open.
7 Critical Keys
Healthcare employees who are able to achieve personal success and happiness in their jobs utilize a skill set I have identified as The 7 Keys. Essentially, these professionals:
- Stay motivated on a daily basis. Successful healthcare professionals take control of their motivation. They clearly understand job expectations, and they measure their own success against these expectations. These individuals do not wait around for others to tell them if they’re performing well or not. They have the means and know-how to motivate themselves. This type of self-control is a major factor for individuals seeking balance in a healthcare job.
- Handle negative people effectively. There is no way to escape the nasty people, personalities, and attitudes in a healthcare job. But there is a way to effectively deal with them—and some healthcare professionals have become masters at this art. I found that successful people employ very specific techniques, effectively turning a difficult situation into a solution-oriented conversation. Indeed, these healthcare professionals confront negative people head-on. They don’t avoid them or agree with them just to get them off their back. To be sure, successful individuals turn harmful situations and people into opportunities for improvement.
- “Toot” their own horn. In healthcare, it’s very easy to wait for the organization to give you your performance review. Perhaps waiting six months or an entire year just to hear your “atta boy or girl” is enough to satisfy you—but most likely not. It’s certainly not for hungry, successful healthcare employees. To get the recognition and rewards they deserve, these individuals go out of their way to inform the boss of the positive results they have achieved. However, they do this in a way that doesn’t offend others or cause them to be looked at as braggers. They are just comfortable letting others know that they are solution-oriented people who accomplish real results on a continual basis.
- Enable success for themselves, their boss, and organization. Successful individuals are always looking out for themselves, but at the same time, they do all they can to enable success for their boss as well as the organization. They know that by doing so it’s a win-win-win situation. After all, if the boss and organization aren’t happy, chances are you’re going to feel that trickle down effect as well. These people have realized that when friction occurs between these three entities (themselves, the boss, and organization) it’s usually because the end results they desire all greatly vary. So, these individuals take the time to discover what’s important. They figure out the company’s, as well as their boss’s goals. They then work toward achieving these goals, which helps to create a harmonious and happy work environment.
- Are team players. Healthcare systems must use teams to achieve results. There is no time for turf or territory wars. Indeed, team participation is critical in the 21st century of healthcare because organizations rely on group collaboration to form improvement efforts. Smart and successful individuals know that participating in meetings, committees, action groups, and daily huddles sets the tone for recognition. Team play also allows one to achieve success for themselves, the boss, and the organization, as mentioned in the fourth key.
- Deal with difficult situations. Through my interviews and research, I found that successful healthcare employees don’t shy away from difficult people and situations. They recognize there is always going to be upset or concerned individuals. They use particular conflict management techniques to keep problems from being escalated; they don’t just pass the problem on to someone else.
- Add value. The seventh critical key deals with adding value. As previously mentioned, successful healthcare professionals tie themselves to the goals of the organization, and are constantly working to ensure that these goals are met. As they do this, they “go public,” telling management that they want to be seen as a contributor and would like to receive the appropriate rewards and recognition for contributing to the organization’s success. This particular method allows them to be viewed as a truly valuable player.
Healthcare professionals who work on the 7 areas above are able to stay connected to their jobs and careers. They realize that happiness is possible and they take the initiative to obtain it. They acknowledge the inevitable obstacles that try to stand in their way, but they ultimately find a way to overcome them. Like I said, it may not always be easy, but it works—thousands of happy and successful healthcare professionals are out there to prove it!