Improving Your Performance – Hint #1

hint 1

In my last blog, I wrote about the importance of ‘walking your talk’.

Over my next few blogs, I will be sharing with you a series of hints on how to adjust your behaviour so that you are living a life that is congruent with your values and congruent with your talk.

Identifying one specific area at a time, and tackling it, is an effective approach to improvement. That’s how I do it. And it works!

One area that I knew I needed to improve was my default reaction when one of my team members called in sick.

My reaction used to come from annoyance at how the day was going to be impacted, and concern as to whether a temp nurse could be organised at short notice. My negative reaction made me grumpy, the sick team member unhappy and then made a bad impression on much of my day.

If I was to ‘walk my talk’ in creating a happy and supportive working environment, my reaction had to change.

So, I devised a new reaction.

To avoid creating my grumpy attitude, I embraced the fact that part of my role as Practice Manager was to manage these minor disturbances quickly and effectively so the whole team could still have a stress-free and productive day. That, in fact, a good Practice Manager should shine in these moments.

To ensure we were likely to get a temp nurse in these situations, I contacted all the temp agencies and asked how early I could contact them with a request. I built strong, friendly relationships with all the temp agencies, so our practice was a pleasure for them to deal with.  I also made sure that all temp nurses who visited our practice felt valued and appreciated. If temps were ever in the position to choose between us and temping at another practice, I wanted to be at the top of the list.

To encourage the team member to feel happy and supported, I would say with genuine concern, “I’m sorry you are not well. Rest up today and get better. Let us know if there anything we can do for you.”


Once you recognise that your reaction to a particular situation needs improvement, consider what the elements would be of a better response. Then practice those elements.

Choose your words carefully, and consider your body language and facial expressions. Act out these new elements a few times over the following two or three days.

Practising new behaviours moves you from simply ‘knowing’ what to do, to ‘doing’ it. Your brain will overcome the natural resistance to performing a new task, allowing easy execution when the opportunity next presents itself.

To make this process truly successful, make a commitment to yourself that you will follow through with your chosen reaction and new behaviours from now on. Remind yourself why it is important to keep this promise to yourself.