Can I Have Your Attention
Getting your staff to pay attention is probably one of the most difficult and important things you have to do as the dental leader. You might ‘talk up’ the importance of good patient service or sterilization procedures. In all likelihood you’ve emphasized punctuality and team work. Your policy and procedure manual is a complete reference on how things are done in the practice and you’ve encouraged the staff to review it. Great - you know how to run your practice. But how do you know if your employees are paying attention to what you say and do?
Attention is one of our most valuable resources, and yet strangely we seldom pay attention to how we pay attention. In today’s fast-paced business world, people are operating on continuous partial attention, the illusion of multitasking that actually involves rapidly switching our attention between tasks. Even for you, the dental leader, so many matters compete for your attention during the day that it's often difficult to see the "forest for the trees." What's more, it can be extremely difficult to get everyone in the team pulling in the same direction and focusing on the true essentials.
Attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect while ignoring other things. Examples include listening carefully to what someone is saying while ignoring other conversations in a room, such as when conducting an initial consultation when your employees are walking by the door. Attention is one of the most intensely studied topics within psychology, yet we still don’t do it well. Yes, it’s pretty easy to pay attention to an 8-month old when she's screaming, but how do you get employees to pay attention to you?
If you don’t pay attention to what has your employees’ attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves. Begin with the notion that everyone can learn to pay attention. There really aren’t any deep secrets to getting their attention and here are a few. Let’s use the example of a staff meeting.
Getting and keeping your employees’ attention is easier when you use these guidelines. These strategies work well in groups as well as in individual meetings and discussion. They’ll help your staff focus on the things you need them to learn and retain. After all, the currency of leadership is attention.
Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like to learn more contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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