As a physician, your attitude influences all segments of your professional world: your staff’s fellowship, collaboration and performance; the follow-through of your patients; and the amount of your goals that will be accomplished. It also influences personal response when you face new challenges, handle setbacks, and recover from mistakes.
No one can control your attitude unless you voluntarily surrender that control. People can affect your attitude by misinforming you or making repetitive errors, but no one else “makes you angry.” You make yourself angry when you surrender control of your attitude. What someone else may have done is irrelevant. They merely put your attitude to the test. If you choose a volatile attitude by becoming hostile, angry, or disruptive, then you have failed the test.
Here are strategies to follow when you find your attitude declining:
Recognize when you are having a bad day. Everyone can have a bad day, even a physician. If you feel you are about to explode, leave the situation. Step into your office for a few minutes, and let your nurse or assistant cover for you until you return. Be kind to yourself and the well-being of your patients and practice.
Recognize before you are burning the candle at both ends. Behaviors typically decline when you don’t get your personal needs met, like getting proper rest, or when commitments and problems are larger than your energy, time and resources to handle them. Taking time off, putting work in perspective, and ensuring that you have a fulfilled personal life will automatically lift your attitude.
Recognize your practice is a team. You are both leader and member of a team with integrated systems to ensure that everyone can accomplish their job smoothly. You rely on your staff to keep the practice going so you can deliver quality patient care. Hold yourself to the same team standards that you require of your staff. Not only will your staff and patients benefit, but so will you.
Recognize there are several solutions to any situation. Many physicians can be high-strung, dominant personalities that overpower with their opinions, attitude, and aggressiveness. Remind yourself that team work requires team effort and team input for staff buy-in on office changes. The effective team leader allows others to shine for a brighter team and better results.
Recognize when to let go of control. Control can kill your energy, time and flexibility. When you delegate a responsibility, let go of your need to control and influence. Instead, empower your staff with sufficient information and space to expand their potential. You both win.
Maintaining a healthy and positive attitude is a basic requirement for success. The combination of a sound mission, personal philosophy and positive attitude about yourself and the people you work with provides you an inner strength and a firm resolve that influences all the other areas of your life.