A Pat on the Back

One of the issues brought forward during my recent meeting with management was the lack of positive reinforcement we received from them. Our point was that we have had a tough time in the clinic over the last year and we have hardly had any “thank you”s or “well done”s. The difficulties we have had include;

  • Major renovations
  • Lack of permanent GPs
  • A few months of only a single GP who was unable to see anyone under 15
  • A new practice manager who was unqualified for the position
  • Cornerstone accreditation
  • Staff changes
  • Abusive, angry patients

So it has been a hard road and we have managed as well as we could have. There were times the clinic was hanging on by a thread but we made it through to the new building and permanent doctors.

What was missing during all of this time was some appreciation from our management. After a hard day, and believe me, some of those days I was ready to walk out and not come back, having your manager simply notice how hard you have been working and throwing a thank you your way would have been enough to get you through to the next day.

When we brought this up at the meeting we thought this would be one of the easier suggestions. How hard is it to say “well done” at the end of the day? Or to say “thank you” when you know there have been issues and everyone worked through them?

This turned out to be a sore point for the management and we ended up stuck on this point for the remainder of the meeting. Their understanding from us asking for some more recognition of our work was that we wanted to get a pat on the back every time we do something, and they will not do that.

I don’t blame them for not wanting to do that, undeserved praise given as a tick box exercise would not help anything. But that was not what we were asking for. We were asking for recognition of the times we go above and beyond, which we do often. I don’t think the management understood this. They simply kept reiterating that we should pat ourselves on the back and be happy with that, because no one does it for them.

I feel that any workplace would be improved if people give each other positive encouragement, be it from the higher-ups to front line staff or from the workers to the bosses, it will surely make the place a happier place. So why be resistant to doing this? Why make this your line in the sand? Why focus on this rather than the 16 other issues?

I have no answer, I am still confused as to why we can’t all be more supportive.

But you know what? It doesn’t matter. I don’t need permission to be kind, or to tell others they are doing a good job. I don’t need management to approve me congratulating them on getting through a hard day. So I will just do it. And maybe, just maybe, it will rub off on others, slowly making its way up to the management. And then work will be a happier place to be.

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