How to Win Colleagues and Positively Influence Patients

NOVEMBER 29, 2017
Ask anyone who works in pharmacy management to name their No. 1 source of stress, and the answer is, people. Then ask them about the most rewarding aspect of their jobs, and they will also say people.

Managing others requires ensuring that everyone has assigned and specific roles and responsibilities, meeting individual scheduling preferences, and resolving interpersonal disputes. But how can a manager do the job and still make sure everyone is happy? How does a manager ensure fairness? And how can manager perform like a boss who others respect and want to emulate? Let’s take a look, using tips from self-improvement guru Dale Carnegie.

First off, keep in mind that there is a huge difference between employees complying because they have to and performing because they want to. We have all worked a shift where the only technician calls out and where we are the only ones in the pharmacy? That made typing in prescriptions, filling them, ringing out patients, answering the phone, attending to drive-thru customers, and counseling very difficult? If this happened at a busy pharmacy, this scenario on a Monday during the after-work rush would not allow you a pharmacist to perform well or for a sustained period. Neither pharmacists or anyone else can succeed entirely alone. 

We always need mentors, partners, and close friends who can support us along the way. We also need support from skilled, loyal, and innovative people. The way to attract these types of people and improve our inner circles comes from sound leadership and influence, both of which are learnable traits. But we must know how to pay attention to and what to look for in interactions with other people. Everyone is a leader in some capacity, regardless of where they are in life. We can become our best selves as managers by paying attention to these 10 specific areas of focus:

Focus area 1: Do not complain or condemn.
Instead of pointing out what is wrong, shift the focus to what is right. Everyone has something good about them, so how about paying attention to those traits and pointing them out. Find an honest way to compliment each person. Be genuine in and make it specific. It will make that person’s day, and who does not like someone who just made them smile?

Focus area 2: Show genuine interest.
The simple solution to getting others to like and respect us is to focus on them, not ourselves. This is the secret to wielding positive influence and having others follow our leads. Those who are selfless are better positioned to powerful and effective leaders. Managers should smile, make eye contact in conversation, listen intently to what others are saying, and show empathy.

So how do we think? Let the other person teach us something that we do not know. We can also try to find out something interesting about others.

Focus area 3: Ask questions.
Not everyone likes to talk, but there is one thing everyone loves to discuss, that that is themselves. Be the hero and win by giving other people the figurative mic and cheering them on by asking them questions. Asking someone questions about themselves makes them feel important. The questions, of course, must be relevant and have somewhat of a flow to them, which makes the interaction genuine.

Focus area 4: Listen.
It is one thing to ask questions, but it is an entirely different thing to listen to the answers given. People are not dumb. They can tell when someone is listening to them or glancing at the game highlights or their phones. Without listening to what other people say, we cannot cultivate legitimate connections with them. Try to live in the moment and actively stay involved in the conversation. Listen intently to what is being said, because when we give someone the courtesy of being present in the dialogue, they notice, and be more apt to build a friendship or respectful business relationship. Go into conversations with the intent of learning something from other people.

Focus area 5: Avoid arguments.
Arguments can be boiled down to 2 people who have not yet agreed on a compromise. When we find ourselves to be in the middle of one of these disagreements, we should show strong and genuine empathy for the other party. We should try asking, “why are they right, and why am I wrong?” instead of assuming that we have all the answers. It is much easier to find middle ground when reaching a point of agreement instead of wasting time bickering.

Focus area 6: Admit mistakes immediately.
We all make mistakes, and that is OK. We just have to own it and apologize. In addition, we should identify what we can do to fix mistakes, and then do it.

Focus area 7: Point out mistakes indirectly.
When others make mistakes, managers should not publicly address those. Doing so will only embarrass the person and make them resent the boss. Instead, pull the person aside and speak discuss how improvements can be made. Provide some points and redirect the person back to success. In other words, make this a teaching moment, not a condemnation.

Focus area 8: Share past mistakes.
Discussing past mistakes and owning up to present ones inspires others and garners respect. Make the mistake and what can be learned from it public. Discuss how to fix the mistake and make sure it does not happen again.

Focus area 9: Praise every effort to improve.
Those who have mastered their craft and become valuable assets to a company or organization are not just born that way. They grow and are molded into skillful people through effort and persistence. So, when we see someone acting to become better at a craft, we should take notice and encourage the effort. Rewarding each step taken will encourage more effort. Let the person know that we care about the time and energy that they are putting into improving themselves. It can be as simple as a genuine compliment and handshake.

Focus area 10: Give people a reputation to emulate.
When successful leaders strive to become even better, others will follow suit. They will reach for the bar that has been set through the example. Managers should constantly strive to improve and have a hunger for learning and growth.
Practice and improve these 10 areas of focus, and a manager’s level of ownership and personal development will improve each day. Compound this over years and years, and just imagine all that can be accomplished, not only in our own endeavors but in the level of leadership and inspiration we can impart to others.

Although the 10 areas of focus seem simple, they are not always easy to put into practice, especially when things are not going our way. Those are the times when the effort we put into these areas and implementing them into our daily lives will pay off. The time to start is now.
 

Adam Martin, PharmD, ACSM-CPT
Adam Martin, PharmD, ACSM-CPT
Dr. Martin is a licensed pharmacist, having earned his doctorate of pharmacy degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2012. He is the founder of TheFitPharmacist movement, which strives to empower pharmacists and pharmacy students to thrive in their careers by overcoming stress and unhealthy habits using science-based principles and unmatched support. His passion for helping those in pharmacy led to TheFitPharmacist Podcast on the PharmacyPodcast network, where he provides practical tips for staying healthy while working at the pharmacy, along with interviewing professionals in the top of their respective fields to bring their knowledge right to your earbuds. He merges his passion of pharmacy with the experts in nutrition through being the owner and nutrition consultant at The Diet Doc Pittsburgh North, with the company having over 25 years of success. Learn more and join TheFitPharmacist movement at www.thefitpharmacist.com.
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