Good Job

Thursday Troubleshooter: My dentist boss no longer tells me he appreciates me

Nov. 14, 2013
My dentist boss has stopped telling me he appreciates me

QUESTION: I'm a dental assistant who has worked for my dentist for more than two years. For the first year of my employment, the dentist complimented me everyday. This treatment felt great and made me strive my hardest. I know I'm a great assistant and I’ve continued working to my very best, yet I rarely get praised anymore. I've brought this up to the dentist and he says I'm the best. But I long for words of praise. I find myself feeling very bitter. Any suggestions?

ANSWER FROM JUDY KAY MAUSOLF of Practice Solutions, Inc:
Feeling appreciated is not fluff stuff; it’s big stuff. It’s what gives us value and purpose. The sad news is that 64% of Americans leave their jobs because they don’t feel appreciated. It’s time to let go of the bitterness.The great news is that you already know that your doctor thinks you’re the best and appreciates you. However, he may not know or be comfortable showing it.
There is often confusion when it comes to showing appreciation. What makes one person feel appreciated does not necessarily make another feel appreciated. It is human nature to show appreciation based on what makes us feel appreciated. Your doctor may feel he is showing you appreciation, but it may not feel like it to you.
There is an awesome book by Gary Chapman called “The Five Languages of Appreciation” that can help you start a dialogue with your doctor and team. I would suggest that your entire team including the doctor read the book and discuss it in a team meeting. At the meeting I would use a big easel pad and markers to write down the primary and secondary language for each team member. Then ask each person, including the doctor, to share how it makes them feel. Showing appreciation will become much easier once everyone understands what makes each team member feel appreciated. Appreciation starts with you!
I like to say "model the waddle" you want to see. If you want the doctor and the team to show you appreciation, you need to first show appreciation to them. And yes, it is important for team members to show appreciation to the manager and doctor. Somehow we seem to forget that doctors and managers need reinforcement as well. I would brainstorm together different ways the team can show appreciation for one another. Keep it fun and fresh by coming up with new ideas such as an Appreciation Board or Wall of Fame.
Please contact me at [email protected] if you would like more ideas on how to create a culture of appreciation and celebration.

It is a very nice feeling to know that we are appreciated, and I understand when you say that you thrived under the attention and praise everyday. However, I have a question for you. Did you ever reciprocate that praise? Sometimes in our need to receive, we forget how nice it is to give. Do not assume that because it is the doctor or office administrator that the person does not also need to hear that his or her work and kindness is appreciated. Start today and make it a habit to thank them for all that they have done for you, and tell them how much you appreciate working for them. I bet that they will return the favor!

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