by George Anastasopoulos
Stuff happens; life happens. To you pharmacist managers and owners out there reading this… imagine your partner walks into the house and says, “Bad news! I totalled the car.”
You instantly go into problem-solving mode. You explore how much damage was done, where the vehicle is now, whether the police were on the scene, if the insurance company was called, and so forth. Then, if you’re anything like the manager I used to be, you take over and deal with the issue. All good, right?
But let’s rewind the tape. Before you go into “management” mode dealing with this unplanned, undesirable and unwarranted problem, what are the first words that should come out of your mouth at that moment when your partner presents the bad news?
You know where I’m going with this – “Are you okay?” There will definitely be a price to pay if those aren’t the first words out of your mouth.
Sure, at some point the discussion will explore how much damage was done, whether the other person’s information was collected, and so on. And that’s all “management” dealing with the issue of the smashed car, which is something that obviously wasn’t anticipated but needs to be dealt with, that’s interfering with your calendar, best laid plans, and expectations.
Well…the audacity of life to happen in ways that we don’t want it to! Here’s today’s distinction:
Managers seek to control the uncontrollable then get upset when it happens.
Leaders know they control nothing, accept life as it happens and deal with it.
It bears mentioning again that leaders also know that before they start “managing” the situation around the smashed car, they’d better be the best possible partner for the other person.
Here’s a simple way to shift your approach so you do less, accomplish more and make a difference:
- Buy one yellow (or any colour) smiley stress ball. Except, buy the one with a frown or sad face rather than a smile. Place it on your desk or workspace next to something that for you represents a problem or a weight (could be a small brick, block, paperweight, magnifying glass, etc.).
- Every time someone comes to you with an issue looking for advice or a solution, look at your stress ball and the weight, then count to five.
- Ask your visitor: “how are you doing?” Repeat the question when they dismiss your question with a casual “fine.” Allow at least one minute for them.
- After that, ask “what do you think you should do?”.
- For the next three days follow this process with everyone who visits you with a problem.
Do your homework, practise all of the points above, and within a week I guarantee you’ll be experiencing a difference in your approach and your results.
When that happens, reach out to me and tell me about it so we can publish and share your winning practices to benefit your pharmacy colleagues.
Better still, reach out to me and in a half hour I’ll coach you to deal with one of your thorniest issues as a leader.
George Anastasopoulos’s passion is to equip and support his clients to transform from managers to leaders, to do less, accomplish more and make a difference. George has taught at the University of Toronto and Schulich Executive Education Centre. He is a credentialed coach with the International Coach Federation, a certified sales leader with the Canadian Professional Sales Association, and certified analyst with Thomas International on a variety of their assessment tools. George is also a veteran business operator with a 20-year corporate career in senior sales, marketing, and general management roles. Most of his clients are senior managers, executives and business owners across a variety of industries.
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