Baiting the hook

Hello friends and fellow leaders!  Today is the first day of my new blog!
I want to welcome you into my fishbowl as we discuss characteristics of leadership, and how to build our skills and those around us!

Years ago, my young children returned from a school carnival with their “winnings”— 7 goldfish.  Looking at these tiny critters through the plastic bag that held them, it was evident that they were feeder goldfish.  Feeder fish are raised specifically to be food for other larger, more valuable fish. 

I was not keen on goldfish.  However, for the sake of my children I was forced to indulge them and feign fondness for our new fishy friends. 

These “prize” fish had been won in games, and were (by rude definition) “free”, but they couldn’t live in a plastic bag much longer.  Off to the pet store I went to purchase a bowl, gravel, plastic plants, a filter, even an underwater castle.  I also had to get water conditioning drops, and of course—food!  Since this was my first ownership experience with goldfish, I bought a manual titled, “How to Care for your Goldfish”.   Seventy-five dollars and two hours later we had everything set up at home.

I began to read the instruction manual.  Chapter 1: “The Behavior and habits of Goldfish”.  Seriously?  Goldfish have behaviors and habits?  I learned that they do, indeed; and there was nothing fishy about it!

The book said that the habits of goldfish depended on their environment, and were conditioned by the owner.  I also learned that goldfish exhibited a wide range of social behaviors including bullying, chasing other fish and fin-nipping (which sounded painful).

I had an epiphany!  (Perhaps it was more of an efishany).  Whatever it was, I began to see a very strong correlation between these goldfish, their environment and behaviors, and the environment and behaviors I was experiencing at the dental office I worked in at the time.  Some behaviors I’d seen in the office were eerily similar to the behaviors and habits of these Goldfish.

In the dental office I had often been witness to bully-like attitudes, arrogance, and an inability to communicate—and that was just the patients!  I also dealt with an office manager that didn’t like me much, a hygienist that thought she was a prima dona, and two assistants that fought like cats and dogs!  It was a turbulent, often stormy environment!

If at this time, I had written a book called “The Behavior and Habits of Humans”, I would have commented that the habits of office employees depended on their environment, and that those habits were conditioned by the boss.  Furthermore, the range of social behaviors I’d seen were often bully-like, chasing of other humans, and nit-picking.  As I compared the list between fish and fellow-workers, I realized that I was employed in a fishbowl environment!

Everyone in the dental practice I worked in was vying to be the leader in the area of their expertise.  That was a good quality, except we weren’t working as a team.  When we all tried to be the leader, or when there was no clear leader, we’d devolve into nit-picking and bully-like behavior!  Those were the times when I felt like a feeder fish. 

Was my role as an employee merely to “feed” the boss?  To make him or her larger and more valuable, while my talents and skills were overlooked?  That’s certainly what it felt like.

I began to feel a commonality of character with my new goldfish friends.  I had misjudged their worth.  I didn’t know it then, but those goldfish were going to provide me invaluable lessons about leadership, and how to cope with all the different behaviors and personalities at work.

In the following pages I’m going to share what I’ve learned as a team member and a leader in business.  You’ll learn my theory of leadership principles, and how successes are created or mistakes are prevented through the behaviors and attitudes that abound in the environment we live and work in.

I believe we’re all leaders, even when we’re not the “boss”.  You see, the health of a healthcare practice is most often determined by the practice owner—the boss.  If you want a healthy medical or dental practice; or if you want to understand how team members can work harmoniously to stay afloat and be successful, then read on.  This blog will help you determine your leadership style and how to work with every one in your practice—even the patients.  Let’s jump in, shall we?

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