Don’t Destroy Your Team: The Words to Create Deep Bonds
Hey, this is Doctor George Birnbach, and I want to ask you a question. Have you ever felt out of touch with someone on your team? Or maybe the whole team? Maybe you’ve felt interrupted when people come up and try to communicate with you, especially in the middle of a busy day and maybe this has made you feel annoyed, or left people on the team questioning your devotion to the clinic or the vision, or even questioning your leadership and now I know that’s not what you want. We want our teams to be unified behind our vision and that means that we need to be constantly creating strong bonds, and good leadership.
Well, the good news is that we can bolster these bonds with anyone on our team just by the language we use. And using a simple three-word phrase can help you gain a deeper, fuller understanding of any other person. It can help convey that you deeply care for them, and the work that they’re doing for your vision. Remember, these folks are putting in the time and effort to help you grow. This can help you communicate, “I see you; I hear you, and I’m here for you.” Which is what they’re really looking for. Because first things first. This is my team, and I need to be here for them. Now if they’re interrupting us inappropriately, we’ll make that correction, but not in this moment, especially in the moment they’re reaching for guidance. Our words cultivate our connection with our values and our culture.
So, what are these three magic words, right, if it’s so easy? The three magic words are, “Tell me more.” So, the next time you’re in conversation and someone comes up and says, “Hey Doc, Hey Doc, I have to tell you this.” Listen, and say, “Okay, tell me more.” You might be surprised the direction it goes. They might be too. Because when using those three words, “Tell me more,” we’re using deep listening. We’re showing them we care; we’re not interrupting or judging, or we’re not making assumptions or jumping to conclusions. We’re focusing fully, as present as we’re able to be, on them and what they felt was so important to interrupt me. Right. Trust me, you have to avoid the thoughts that swirl around in your head, cause sometimes, they’re not going to be so positive, right? You need to focus so you can understand their perspective, even if you disagree with why they brought you this information. So, pay attention to the other person’s non-verbal cues too. Again, without making assumptions about what they mean, because this is deep listening. It is good leadership. And you allow space and time to pass, and that encourages the person to elaborate. You help that person feel safe and comfortable.
Now, it’s vital that you never shame them for what they’re sharing. To do that is a complete breach of trust. Leadership and empathy are learned skills, and I think “Tell me more” is an invaluable prompt. It’s a great tool for checking in with yourself on a daily basis as well, to better understand your internal landscape. It helps sort out your thinking. It’s a great tool when you’re working with collaboration to finding solutions with stubborn problems. When we’re all sitting around brainstorming. “Tell me more. “Tell me more how you feel about that.” Your job in leadership is to build the environment for others to thrive, using their abilities. Now, if mistakes are being made, we’re not going to make light of that. If mistakes are being made, such as interruptions on high-priority activities like patient care, we will make these corrections, but we’ll do it at a later time, away from patients, at the appropriate time. But in the moment, treat your team communication like valuable commodities, because that’s what it is. If you ever try to run a successful business, and your team is afraid to share information with you, you will quickly understand that concept.
You see, a big key to good leadership practice is creating open communication, especially with intelligent, hard-working people. It shows people you care. It lets them know you’re truly listening, and that you want to understand them. So be sure to have your values clear and transparent, so your team understands what the rules are, and what all their actions and decisions are guided by.
If you follow this simple soundbite, “Tell me more.” “Hey Doc, I got a problem with the printer.” “Tell me more.” “Hey, we got a patient who is upset on the ‘phone.” “Tell me more.” You’re going to find that you’re stimulating quality conversation, not just more interruptions, you’ll empower your team, and you’ll get better energy, better effort, and better outcomes.
My name’s Doctor George Birnbach. Take this skill, throw it into action, report in the comments your results. Let me know how this is working for you. Communication is the key to almost all the success you could ever want.