Tuesday, April 28, 2015

5 Simple Relational Hacks that Your Manager Hopes You Discover and Use

Hacks… interesting word for 2015. Let me date myself as I inform you or my understanding of that word. When I was a teenager and playing basketball, a player would get ‘hacked’ by a defender when he was shooting the ball. As I grew older, a ‘hack’ was someone who was a novice or outright amateur who thought he knew how to do something (not a term of flattery for sure). And, of course, in our computer age to ‘hack’ means to unlawfully break in to someone’s computer. Now in 2015, a hack is nothing like a foul in basketball, nor something a rank amateur would do, nor is it an illegal attempt to break into a computer, but a ‘hack’ is an ingenious way to do something. With that definition in mind, I want to share with 5 hacks that will propel your chaplaincy to new heights. In fact, every Spiritual Care Manager or Director really hopes you learn these very simple relational hacks. 1. Relate well to your IDT team. When speaking of a joint visit or an event that went particularly well, spread the praise around. Put the spotlight on someone else even though you might have done a great job. Remember, Managers get the word. We get the news of how well something went and we hear about how you relate to your Team. When you put someone else in the spotlight, we hear that. And, it’s always put in these words or at least close to them, “Rich, it was really great when our Chaplain shared with the Team what a great job Nurse Terry did.” It is impressive to leadership when you do that. It doesn’t cost you a thing to do it. 2. Be dependable. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. I am well aware that there are times when a schedule gets blown up and you just can’t. That is the exception. Consistency is the rule. Your Team benefits from your consistency. We hear that, too. Well, actually, what we hear when you’re inconsistent is put in the worst way possible, in disgust. “I just can’t depend on Chaplain. He talks a good game, but hasn’t delivered.” That is not what a Manager wants to hear and will call into question a lot of things (and none of them are good). 3. Focus on outcomes. Isn’t our philosophy of chaplaincy Outcome Oriented Chaplaincy? Nothing will drive a Manager quicker to the brink of apoplexy than to ask a Chaplain how he or she is coming along with that ‘difficult’ patient and be told, “Well, I tried to call, but there was no answer, so I left a message and they haven’t returned my call, yet.” Ok, let’s understand something… it is NOT the patient’s job to call you back. They have no burden of responsibility at this point. Chaplaincy is NOT a reimbursed service. You must find a way to contact that patient. The nurse has found a way. The Social Worker has found a way. And, you? Your attempts do not equate with success. If you can’t contact the patient, then contact the Nurse or Social Worker and make a joint visit. You succeed when you succeed. It’s simple. 4. Make eye contact with the person you are speaking with. Making eye contact is a non-verbal way or saying, “I am interested in what you are saying to me.” It shows maturity. It reveals your heart of compassion. 5. Whatever else you do, smile at your IDT, your patients and family members. You get what you give. If you give a pleasant countenance, you’ll usually get one in return. Even if you don’t, you will make an impact on the person who saw you smile. A smile indicates you are a positive person. People who are at the end-of-life need a smiling face looking at them. That gives them reassurance. Worried people need a smile. Tired people need a smile. Overworked people need a smile. It’s a sad thing to hear that “then Chaplain doesn’t seem very happy. I haven’t seen him smile since he’s been here.” Managers hear about all 5 of the above. Do these simple ‘hacks’ and let me know how your world and your influence on your IDT and your patients and families changes for the better.

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