Is This a Good Time?

For many years, I wasn’t a great manager, but it wasn’t on purpose.

Owning a practice is stressful. There are always so many things to take care of: patients, team members, payroll, taxes, billing, request offs, training, loans, banking, continuing education for the team, inventory, replying to email, contacting software support, marketing, budgets, reports, etc. The list really does go on and on. I often felt overwhelmed.

It never helped that the rest of the team didn’t know all that had to be taken care of, so they would often walk right into my office WHILE asking a question. There was often no knock on the door or even an acknowledgment that I might be in the middle of something. The team member would launch into a problem and expect me to address it and fix it right then. Because my thoughts were often in the middle of ten other issues, I would often get upset with the blatant interruption. For years, this manifested itself into me getting short with my responses to my team. That wasn’t cool of me. But it also wasn’t cool of them to approach me like that.

There’s a better way to communicate, my friends!

One day, I decided that I needed to have a meeting with my team and address the constant interruptions. I asked them to knock on my door, wait for a response, and then ask, “Is this a good time?” before launching into their question. I told them that I genuinely wanted to give them good, well thought out, and patient responses, but that sometimes it really isn’t a good time for me to be interrupted. Not only did I ask them to do it, but I promised that my husband and I would reciprocate and respect their work and time as well. That was only fairWe all also agreed that if it WASN’T a good time to talk, then the other party had to respect that and try again later or schedule for a later meeting.

Since we started implementing, “Is this a good time?” I have much less stress. I don’t feel pressure to respond to everyone immediately. I can finish what I’m doing so I can give my full attention to their need when it’s a mutually beneficial time.

I am a better manager when I’m not feeling overwhelmed, and I want to be a good manager to my team. That’s really important to me. I wish I would have discovered this communication gem a long time ago.