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Are you stifling your staff’s enthusiasm?

Many articles have been written about motivating staff. Medical Office Manager has published many of these, which are usually how-to articles, aimed at increasing productivity.

These pieces often share tried-and-true ways to engage employees more fully. Sometimes rewards and recognition are the hooks for motivation and greater engagement.

Such techniques work, and can help you build a better team. However, one element that sometimes gets overlooked when trying to motivate others is enthusiasm.

Dangling a carrot will get short-term results. But enthusiasm, when you can harness and cultivate it, is the difference between surviving and thriving.

Enthusiasm at work

It helps to understand exactly what enthusiasm means in the context of the workplace.

Enthusiasm is defined as strong excitement about something; a strong feeling of active interest in something you like or enjoy. Synonyms for enthusiasm include eagerness, passion, zeal, zest, and gusto.

In the workplace, enthusiasm doesn’t allow for rote participation and simply meeting goals. It aims for excellence and drives innovation.

Enthusiasm, genuine enthusiasm, is what you ideally want from your staff.

How to generate enthusiasm

Although some people seem naturally enthusiastic, others require help getting revved up. And just about everyone requires ongoing support.

Here is how to harness and cultivate enthusiasm in your medical office.

Identify and tap into people’s strengths. This requires knowing—really knowing—your staff, as individual employees. Do you know what each staff member is best at? Do you know what aspects of the job s/he enjoys most? (They may not be the same things.) Find out what people like to do, and see if there is an opportunity for them to do more of those things. It may sound obvious, but people are enthusiastic when they enjoy their work.

At the same time, people need to feel challenged and they need to grow. Here again, talk to your staff about their interests and aspirations, and discuss ways you and the practice can provide support.

Match the people to the jobs. Sometimes conversations with staff members will reveal that people are not in the right jobs. As manager, part of your job is to assess skills, interests, and personalities as they relate to office tasks. Someone who dislikes interacting with people on the phone, for example, probably isn’t the ideal person for the role of receptionist. Yet, you may not know this unless you get to know your staff.

Encourage participation, in group settings and one on one. Make sure staff meetings encourage participation from everyone, not only the people who talk the most. Ask for ideas and feedback from all staff members, including employees who are introverts. In addition, make it a point to check in with folks one on one, whether in person or via email. People often feel more comfortable sharing new ideas one on one. Remember, generating enthusiasm doesn’t always require a grand gesture but it does require communication.

Don’t shut down the process. Too often, when managers are busy and preoccupied with their own tasks, they don’t hear what employees are saying. This can result in a staff member presenting a new idea that gets ignored—or worse, squashed. Talk about stifling enthusiasm! Be alert to conversations where employees present ideas. If you don’t have the time when approached, schedule time for the conversation.

Recognize that enthusiasm takes many forms. The staff member who routinely comes up with new ideas at weekly meetings is clearly enthusiastic about her job. But so is the person who bakes cupcakes for the office. And the employee who wants to take a course to improve a skill is also showing enthusiasm.

Be aware of any and all signs of enthusiasm and encourage them. Sometimes all it takes is a word from the boss (that would be you).

“You always share great ideas at our meetings, Jane. Keep ’em coming!”

“Thanks for brightening up our Monday morning with cupcakes, Joe. We really appreciate it.”

“Taking a course in basic accounting is a wonderful idea, Meg. I’m sure that skill will come in handy here and I’m happy to let you know the practice will reimburse you once you’ve completed the course.”

Understand and benefit from the impact. Finally, know that enthusiasm is contagious. Enthusiastic employees have a tendency to infect others—and this will likely include you. Why not go for the gusto?

Editor’s picks:

5 proven ways to motivate your staff without spending money

Your biggest job? Motivating your staff

Recognition and rewards increase productivity at Maryland practice









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