I was recently conducting a coaching workshop for leaders that reminded me of the real value of the statement, “What you permit, you promote.” As part of the workshop, participants were asked to identify what percent of their employees fall into each of four engagement categories including: fully engaged, engaged, somewhat engaged and disengaged. They also identified what behaviors they see at each level of engagement and how the behaviors impact others. It was clear from the responses that the leaders had a great understanding of what disengagement looks like. They determined that 20% of their staff are disengaged and 40% are somewhat engaged.
It has been well documented that employee engagement is strongly correlated with patient satisfaction. For this reason, the 60% of poor engagement is disturbing. The irony is that, even though the managers described engagement as poor, their official performance appraisals scored the vast majority as high performers. How can that be? There are usually lots of reasons for this but suffice it to say that confrontation is hard. Especially when someone is clinically competent. In this situation, we may kid ourselves into thinking that’s enough to be successful. Think again.
In today’s world of value based purchasing and savvy consumers, everyone has to be competent in their technical skills but equally as skilled in service skills. If you are not demanding that of your team members, you may be permitting too much. Here are just a few excuses that may indicate you’re tolerating too many poor behaviors.
- It (the poor behavior) doesn’t happen all the time
- But she’s such a good nurse (doctor, tech, accountant etc.)
- I don’t want to make a big deal out of it
If you want to achieve a high standard, you must insist on consistency. Let people know that you expect it and will give consistent feedback on what you observe. It takes persistence, insistence and consistence.