I remember when I was studying Chiropractic, I would think about the future.
What did my future as a Chiropractor look like? I was ‘certain’ that I would own a clinic one day, but really, that was my father’s goal more than my own.
In my mind, I knew I needed to start somewhere and while I was at uni, I didn’t care what the role was, I just cared about exposure..
I graduated and got a job, and was fortunate enough to have a mentor. I worked as hard as I could and took in as much as I could.
I love what I do and helping people is what I live for, but after a while, without a direction, a focus and a goal.. It was time for me to move on from my role.
I didn’t have a plan.
I opened a clinic which grew quickly, then two clinics, then three clinics. I hired people quickly to keep up with the demand, but had no strategy, control and most definitely had no time.
The worst part, was I underestimated how much my team needed me just to be there for them, to talk, help them grow and develop them professionally and personally.
Looking back on everything I’ve learnt to understand, I have evolved, personally and professionally. In saying that, it’s crucial to make a distinct point that I am evolving all the time, every day.. Can you ever really define a perfect leader? It’s indefinable and you can only continue to strive to improve..
I have noticed over time that when people in the industry talk to me about their positions and how they want to grow and develop.. There are common themes amongst them all.
Here are 10 things practitioners seem to want in a workplace:
1. A Safe Learning Environment
Health practitioners have a strong desire to keep learning and have their beliefs challenged. “A place where I can keep learning and growing” starts with creating a safe environment. Realising that you need to improve on something is confronting at the best of times and there can be nothing more confronting than feeling like you’ve just let your patient down but also can feel belittling if you feel a bit silly asking for help on something you supposedly ‘should have known’. Weekly team meetings give everyone an opportunity to connect and collaborate about a topic of development and having set one on one time with your mentor allows an opportunity for the practitioner to ask for help.
The relationship between company and practitioner needs to have some give and take. Practitioners that are working hard can often just need a sense of return where their mentor spends some one on one time with them, offers them flexibility if they need a day to themselves, or even simply saying “thank you”. Either way, a strong focus on the wellbeing and the reciprocal relationship between company and practitioner is paramount
3. Friendly and Fun Environment
Working with patients that are in pain all day can be an emotional burden. Sometimes it can be overwhelming especially early on in your career. Having colleagues that help break some tension by having a laugh, going for coffee or even just doing a training session together at the clinic.
Having various practitioners under one roof allows room for specialty. The team’s presence allows for individual strength within one’s niche. The fact that there’s a supportive team allows for easy co-management with professional courtesy and respect upheld between practitioners.
5. Quality over Quantity
Performance comes naturally when people have the right driver, goals and are happy. When the focus is on quality patient care and setting meaningful goals professionally, not only is the practitioner happy but it results in sustainable high performance.
6. Future and Growth Orientated
The idea is to always be moving towards something. Staying idle in business can make things feel stale – you might love your work professionally, but feel like your not progressing or challenged in any way. The idea is to set ‘smart’ but also meaningful goals per quarter. It’s important the goals are meaningful as it satisfies the reason why you chose to be a health practitioner.
7. Good Defence
Having consistency and communication between practitioners is critical when it comes to optimising patient care. Practitioners disagreeing on a diagnosis is common, and detrimental if its not handled appropriately. We’ve got each other’s backs and always look to uphold our standards especially if we know our colleague needs help.
8. Values Driven
If people in the company are happy, and the practice runs well, the patients will most certainly be looked after. A values based approach to healthcare means decisions need to be made that satisfy the needs of the practitioner, the practice and the patient all at the same time.
9. Open and Honest Conversations
Giving and receiving criticism is important when it comes to any ongoing relationship. You should have a set opportunity to raise any concerns regarding your work circumstances, direction, performance and goals with the company and vice versa every 3 months or so. It’s easy to sweep things under the carpet, but just like any relationship, it takes work and commitment.
10. Growing Mutual Trust
The key ingredient to building trust, is time. How each party handles themselves with given circumstances that arise along the way over time, is what builds trust.
Developing all of these within a company takes time. It’s an evolution. It starts off with the basics and then you build off that.
The bottom line is, if you’re in a workplace that has all of this, then you’re surely happy! If not, the first step is to work on it.
Ask yourself, what can you control that can make the positive change?