“The staff doesn’t like you. They are all scared of you.” She sat across from me, feigning concern.
“Why?” I felt my face redden and struggled to keep the emotion under control.
“They just think you are too demanding. You should stop talking to them. Let me handle it for you so they can be mad at me.”
Too demanding? I was not being ugly. I just asked the front desk to check on a patient’s insurance coverage. How could that be construed as anything but an honest and necessary question so I could take better care of a patient?
“If you have a problem, come to me and I will take it to them.”
And with that I was not supposed to communicate directly with my staff anymore. Because they feared and disliked me. The practice administrator over her and HR supported this she said.
My head reeled. She left. I closed the door and had myself a good cry.
Unbeknownst to me, that office manager was telling the staff that she was the boss, not the physicians, that they should stop taking their concerns to us. If there was an unpopular decision the staff was told that it came from the docs even if it didn’t really. If it was something good, she told them that she had done everything in her power get us to reluctantly agree. She lied and lied and lied to the staff about everything.
If you have been reading my blog posts for a few years you may recall the angst of this period of time. How could I be doing the same thing I always did but now all of a sudden everyone thinks I am the bitch from hell? Is it really that I am so evil? Or is it that I am woman and as such people are taking everything I say and do and twisting it into something I am not? If so, why now?
What was going on?!?!!??!!
I had this niggling suspicion, as my staff continued to leave the clinic one by one, that my office manager was not supporting the physicians or the staff, that there was something else going on to which I was not privy. I reached out to upper management and they listened for a change. Within a couple of months she was gone. It was startling how quickly that occurred. Typically there is a huge HR process and blah, blah, blah. At the time I felt guilty, terribly guilty, blindsiding her with it when HR showed up to escort her out of the building. I worried that I had destroyed her career.
Yesterday I found out that there was an investigation going on, that each employee who had left the clinic during that period of time was approached by a contracted firm for statements as to why they left. The investigation supported what I was saying which was why upper management moved so quickly. But no one ever told me this occurred. I found this out from one of the employees that we rehired.
In fact, virtually everyone who has left this clinic has asked to come back at one time or another. On some level I knew it was not really me but how to rationalize that with what I was being told by an office manager that I trusted?
That whole period of time really messed with my head.
Friends and family started to doubt me. Hell, I doubted myself. I questioned my judgement. I questioned everything. In the end I realized that I had to let it go. All I could do was what I thought was right and I found my peace with that. While the maelstrom swirls around me, I can stand upright knowing I am doing right. In that respect the whole experience has been invaluable. I care so much less what people think about me.
Just do what is right.
I have been back to communicating directly to my staff again for over a year. The practice administrator last week complimented me on my “level of engagement with the staff,” saying that everyone always had positive things to say about me.
But I am doing the same thing I have always done. Maybe it is just the tequila I keep in my office?