"And don't underestimate the importance of body language! Ha!" - Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
No matter who you are, or what you do, how you communicate matters. Transparent and authentic communication is what we all aspire to achieve.
"This is true with any culture; communication shapes culture, and culture shapes communication." Paula Alejandra
About a decade ago, I stumbled upon a question I could ask in so many different situations, that it became a pretty powerful tool in my leadership tool kit.
To brag or to be boastful is often socially frowned upon. We've been conditioned, likely from a young age, to strive toward humbleness. This is what we are up against in healthcare when we try to teach the concept of "Managing Up" -- which is a positive communication technique that places yourself and others in a positive light with customers and coworkers. Healthcare employees can more easily take hold of the managing up of others - other departments, other caregivers, etc. - yet it is the managing up of themselves that gets uncomfortable. It is with great frequency that the reaction will be "Oh, I just can't brag about myself to the patient - that would feel uncomfortable and what good will it really bring."
It takes everybody. We know this to be true in organizations that want to move beyond mediocrity to greatness. Within the world of healthcare, often the doctors and nurses get all the focus and attention - and this carries out into the world in the likes of shows such as Grey's Anatomy. Yet, there is such diversity in the field of healthcare - from plumbers to technicians of sort, from folks who man the revenue cycle to those who man the boilers, from those who prepare the meals to those who prepare high tech infusions, from those who have their hands on the patients to those who never even see a patient. What a wonderfully diverse industry.
Even insiders to healthcare have a hard time knowing about, and appreciating, the departments around them - and the people in them. This lack of knowledge often makes it hard for individuals to work across departments to serve the patients well. This lack of appreciation, can lead to silos and negative work environment.
When working with healthcare organizations to plan and execute a journey to greatness, we put solutions in the hands of employee teams to build relationships, increase collaboration, and foster positivity between individuals, teams, and departments.
One important solution involves a positive communication standard we term "managing up." As we go about our days and nights in healthcare, we can manage up other departments, shifts, providers, caregivers, team members, etc. Managing up is a communication tactic that positions others in a positive light. It shows the customer, patient, co-worker, or visitor that we have respect for each other and that they are in good hands when they are handed off to others in the process of care.
"The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention." Rachel Naomi Remen