Ep #88: Successful Management and Leadership with Kris Plachy

As physicians we often fall into leadership positions that involve some tricky dynamics that we didn’t necessarily go to school for. I’ll be chatting with Kris Plachy about this and getting her best advice on how to set yourself up for success when these positions come along. She discusses the difference between management and leadership while emphasizing the importance of purposeful communication and setting expectations.

We go over some of the common issues that arise in the workplace when it comes to management and leadership and how to tackle them in proactive and positive ways. By taking a responsible and solution-oriented stance rather than positioning yourself as helpless or burdened, Kris shares how you can positively impact your practice. From difficult PAs to dispute resolution and gossip, Kris shares some really important solutions that will help you and those around you at work.

Listen To The Episode Here:

In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • Kris’ passion for coaching and how she wove it into her leadership practice.
  • How you can move up when you find yourself in a leadership position.
  • The difference between leading and managing.
  • The importance of setting yourself up for success and not expecting that you have all the skills necessary from the start.
  • How to deal with difficult people and those who aren’t totally in your ‘charge’.
  • Understanding the responsibilities and opportunities that come with leadership.
  • Solutions to gossip and disputes within the office.

Featured In This Episode:

Get The Full Episode Transcript

Read the Transcript Below:


Katrina Ubell:      You are listening to The Weight Loss For Busy Physicians Podcast with Katrina Ubell M.D. Episode number 88.

Katrina Ubell:      Welcome to Weight Loss for Busy Physicians. The podcast where busy doctors like you get the practical solutions and support you need to permanently lose the weight so you can feel better and have the life you want. If you’re looking to overcome your stress eating and exhaustion and move into freedom around food, you’re in the right place.

Kris Plachy welcome to the podcast. So excited to have you.

Kris Plachy:         Hello. I’m so happy to be here.

Katrina Ubell:      I am just so excited because I think, well first of all like I told you I think that we could talk for three hours but I’m pretty sure that nobody would want to listen to that.

Kris Plachy:         I would.

Katrina Ubell:      I’m going to break this down into really good solid help for all these doctors out there who need-

Kris Plachy:         Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      I always ask all of my people first just tell us about yourself and you background, who do you help? Just give us a little background info.

Kris Plachy:         Okay, cool. I’m Kris Plachy and I’m a leadership coach and I have about 25 years of leading and managing experience and before I started my business just six years ago, literally I think almost on the day. I think it was July 17th six years ago.

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, fun!

Kris Plachy:         Yeah, super cool. I ran a performance coaching team that I designed inside an organization and then before that I led and managed teams for years and I had the benefit of having some really good development, some really good mentors and I was very early on attracted to coaching. In fact, I think I took my very first coaching class, one of those seminars at some Berkeley institute or something in 1994.

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, nice.

Kris Plachy:         I’ve been studying and coaching for years and I just kept trying to weave it into my practice as a leader and it worked, right? Then when I started my own business I had all this runway having done the work within an organization and it was like a playground for me to test stuff. Then when I started my business, I was like, “I wonder if this will work with other people and with teams too.” That’s why I love what I do, I love coaching leaders. There’s a lot of managers, in fact the majority of them, people who manage people don’t have any training. They want to do well but they just don’t know really where to start and so I like to be that person that can help simplify what feels really complex and hard show folks that it doesn’t have to be. There really are solutions that are available to you.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, oh my God, so good. Okay, so my questions for you are going to be based on my own personal experience being in practice bout also what I coach my clients on and the issues that they have. For sure many physicians, okay so the vast majority of physicians go into medical school thinking, “I just want to be an amazing doctor and I want to help people.” Some of them have aspirations to maybe move up the ranks but a lot of them really don’t. But, as they advance and maybe they work for an academic institution or something like that, they can be called on to take on more of these leadership positions and it can be something like being in charge of the medical students who rotate through, it can be residency program director or co director or assistant director or something like that and then it can also be being in charge of your whole department and then sometimes even higher up within the medical organization. So many of my clients are interested in doing this, they think it’s fun, they like to do it but now suddenly they’re managing people and they’re like, “Wait. I don’t know anything about this.”

I see two things that typically happen. There’s probably more too but it’s usually one or the other where they either get into a total people pleasing mode where they just are like overly nice because they want everyone to like them and then that doesn’t go over very well and they feel terrible or they just get super frustrated and resentful of the people that they manage because all these people keep coming to them with problems and they don’t really know how to help them with solutions.

Kris Plachy:         That may be… boss, right?

Katrina Ubell:      What do we do? Yes, exactly. Yeah, then they’re the boss that all the people are complaining about. What would you say to somebody who is either thinking about moving up or is finding themselves in this kind of leadership position and now they’re like, “What do I do?”

Kris Plachy:         Exactly, so it’s … good. It’s normal and they way that I think about leadership is the way I think about anything else and I want to make sure I’m clear because leading is different than managing. I actually think that a lot of physicians are probably very good leaders because I think it takes a lot of ability to have that kind of confidence and willingness and interest in serving and helping people in the way that you guys do. Leadership is different, that’s having vision and direction in what you want to achieve bringing people with you. Managing is the part that most of us are really crappy at.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, I’ve seen that. I’m like, yeah we can lead a team. Someone’s trying to die, I’m going to lead the code right.

Kris Plachy:         Yes, exactly but the managing part is, it’s a skill. The best way you can think about anything that you’ve learned how to do as a physician, you had to learn it. You didn’t walk into med school and know how to, I don’t know do a … right, any of that. You didn’t know. You had to learn and there was a whole process that you had to go though to learn that skill and I think a lot of us assume that because we’re human it shouldn’t be so hard to manage humans, right because shouldn’t we all just get along and don’t we all just want the same thing and don’t we all just want to be successful? The answer is kinda and so we’ve got to treat managing as it’s own skill.

It’s I don’t think it’s that complicated, I think what happens is it feels really complicated because there’s a lot of emotion involved and there’s a lot of inner energy exchange and stuff but really you just have to learn the basic steps, the fundamental steps of managing a team and then anyone really could be very successful because if you compliment that with your technical competence, right then you become unstoppable.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, oh my God that sounds amazing. What’s so great about that is it’s like, oh this is just another thing I can learn how to do versus being thrown in and going, “Let me just figure this out.”

Kris Plachy:         That’s what so many people do and they think they’re supposed to be good at it. People think they should be good at giving feedback.

Katrina Ubell:      Why?

Kris Plachy:         Really? Took that class in high school, I didn’t. People should be good at dealing with a difficult person. I didn’t take that class either, right?

Katrina Ubell:      No.

Kris Plachy:         We expect that of ourselves and I think a lot of managers think that they’re failing but they haven’t ever really set themselves up to be successful.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, and I think it’s really interesting to think about it in that managerial kind of role because I think a lot of these leadership roles that physicians take on are really managerial. It’s like, “Hey can you manage all of our residents please? Can you manage all of the fellows in this program?” Sure you’re leading them and you’re teaching them and you’re mentoring them and things like that but really you’re managing them.

Kris Plachy:         There’s a management element. I know people like to think that when you get to be the CEO you don’t manage. No, there’s still, you’ve got an admin, you’ve got an executive admin, you’ve got somebody that you have to hold accountable and that is managing and if that exists there have to be symmetrics and some processes in place. As soon as you build it, the best news is about once you gain those management skills and you build it, it’s easily replicated. If you’re a physician and you’re running a small team and then you become chief of staff and you’re really big deal, right? Everything you learned just you take at that macro level. It really is replicable which is cool once you take the time to invest.

Katrina Ubell:      That’s cool. Yeah, that’s very, very cool. I think a lot of people also think, well if I had time to go get an MBA, that maybe I could learn this stuff. It feels like such a big commitment but I love what you’re saying is it’s really not. It’s some basic skills that you practice and learn and-

Kris Plachy:         Don’t go get the MBA. Don’t do that.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, don’t get the MBA. Right, exactly. Okay, next question is in a lot of physicians find themselves in this position where they have some sort of ancillary staff that they work very closely with so usually it’s a nurse or a medical assistant. They are in charge sort of of that person. They work with them but they are not their direct boss. The hospital system has hired the nurse or the medical assistant and they’re some sort of person who’s in charge of managing all of them and then the physician is employed in a different avenue. Then they’re brought together, maybe they’ve been allowed to choose who it is that they’re working. A lot of time they’re not and so sometimes we get a double rainbow and everybody loves each other and it works great.

More often than not it’s a lot of strife from the doctor’s perspective. To the point where for some people maybe the medical assistant is very grumpy, doesn’t have a lot of interpersonal skills and isn’t very nice when they’re rooming patients or helping them with things and then the physicians salary is at last partially tied to their patient satisfaction scores.

Kris Plachy:         Awesome.

Katrina Ubell:      You can see where their thoughts are going, right? They’re like, okay fine. You’re really not a nice person but now I’m getting paid less because of you. This is a real problem and so they feel like they can go and complain to the person who’s in charge of that person but not a lot happens and they feel very stuck and I think it leads to a lot of burnout because they don’t feel like they can trust that person do things so then they are taking on more of the kind of admin-y things themselves which build up and they’re just so resentful and miserable in their day to day life. How do you deal with that “difficult person” who you’re sort of in charge of but you’re not really?

Kris Plachy:         Right, first of all there’s I know what you do so much with your clients right and your podcast listeners is understanding your own mind and understanding how your thoughts about this person are affecting even your relationship that you have with them just in your head. I want to always emphasize that a part of the work I do also with my clients is helping my clients understand, if you’re standing in front of a brick wall and you don’t have a hammer but the wall is blocking you, you can’t just stand there and yell at the wall. That’s not going to get you to you goals. That’s what we do sometimes in our brain. We just yell at our circumstance thinking that somehow that will change it. That’s not going to work so there’s that work. We all have to understand that.

However, I believe in helping my clients and people I talk to really assume ownership for their circumstance. If I’ve been assigned a medical assistant who is awful and is not demonstrating great patient care. I’ve actually had that medical assistant so I totally can relate to this. It’s really nice to know that it wasn’t my doctor’s fault because I love her.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, and that’s what I keep going back. You’re like, her assistant is awful but I love this doctor.

Kris Plachy:         Well they keep getting new ones but she’s actually effective I think. She does something to get rid of them. I should probably ask her. First of all it’s a position of ownership. If I stay in a position of burden, this happens to me and there’s nothing I can do about it then of course right now I’m just … We’ve got to have this mindset of thinking, okay. This person may not report to me but I am responsible for their work and their performance. I may not do their performance review and I may not be able to fire them but I am responsible for them. Really owning it, right? That to me starts on the day they show up. The day they walk in, in my mind what I would do is sit Sally Jo down or whatever and say, “Hey, I’m so glad you’re here. I would like to let you know what it’s like here to work with me. Here are my expectations.”

Those expectations, now this applies to whether you own your business or the circumstance that you’ve outlined so we can answer this I think in two different ways, right? Expectations are behavior based and they’re based in values so what do I expect of somebody who performs, who works for me, right? What do you think some of your listeners would say? What are some of the expectations?

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, that they are respectful of the patients, that they are prompt and timely, that they are not spending a lot of time being distracted and talking to other staff members like they’re rooming the patients on time. That they’re anticipating what the doctors needs might be. They see, oh this person is coming in for this. Oftentimes when that is the case she orders this lab or whatever. Just to kind of, yeah thinking ahead of time and then facilitating effectively and accurately whatever the plan is. If you ask them, “Hey I need you to do this and that or measure this, or check their blood pressure again,” on a timely basis being able to get in there, get that done while still rooming the next patient.

It’s like project management, right? It’s like someone who is thinking ahead, anticipating and is quick. I think that’s a big thing when they’re very slow. It can be very difficult.

Kris Plachy:         Yeah. When I sit down with that person then I would say all of those things. I want to know that you’re thinking ahead of time. I want to know that you are exceptionally patient focused. I want to know that you have paid enough attention to how I treat my patients that when they’re with me or with you they share that same experience. I expect honesty. I expect speed and timeliness of delivery, whatever it is that we’re doing. We could just say whatever is …

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, oh my God I love that, yes.

Kris Plachy:         As the manager, as the doctor you want to write those down. Then when I meet with you I’m going to give them to you in writing. Then I’m going to ask you, so, Katrina I’m really excited you’re here on board. What do you expect of me?

Katrina Ubell:      Ooh, that’s good.

Kris Plachy:         Right, and we’re going to have this conversation. I’m going to take you to lunch or we’re going to get coffee or we’re going to go after work, I don’t care when. If this relationship as far as I can tell for a doctor is the probably most important relationship you’re going to have so investing in calibrating expectations up front. If you haven’t done that and you have someone already who you can’t stand working with, you can still do it. You could just say, “Hey, I had this great idea about setting expectations,” and you can still sit down with them and say, “Hey, I want to calibrate some expectations with you because I don’t know if we ever did that.” Here’s what I expect of people that I work with. What do you expect of me?”

You have that conversation. Now we have these agreements that we’ve made and so then if you’ve got four patients and someone, there was an obvious something they could’ve seen ahead of time and they didn’t, then I can go back to that medical assistant and say, “Hey, you know I noticed with patient in room 12, they said this but they weren’t ready for that. Can you help me understand what happened? That’s where coaching has to come in but we hold people accountable to expectations. If we haven’t set expectations we can’t hold people accountable. People think accountability means writing them up and firing them and that is not true.

Most accountability is just agreements that we make with one another. Hey, do you want to grab coffee? Sure, what time? 10:00. Okay, I’ll be there. Right?

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, yes.

Kris Plachy:         If it gets to be that time and you’re not at the coffee shop I’m like where are you?

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Kris Plachy:         That’s accountability. I think a lot of us just make it mean something so big and scary and then we, I don’t have any control. I can’t do anything. Absolutely every day and then you can recognize them. Hey, you know what? We were slammed today. You were amazing today. Thank you for being on it. I loved how you did this, this and this. It changed everything for me today. Accountability is when things don’t go well and also when things go great and remember to do both but we have to start with expectations.

Katrina Ubell:      I absolutely love that because what I see is that by the time that there’s something to even be discussed they’re so furious inside that anything we say, people can read that. When you’re basically like biting your cheek and you’re like … There’s so much tension and you’ve been so passive aggressive all day that they know that you’re mad. They know that you’re frustrated and when you haven’t told them very specifically which they should do then you’re asking them to read your mind. It just should come together. It’s like when people think you should just be married and everything should be amazing. Like, no.

Kris Plachy:         Everything should be amazing.

Katrina Ubell:      There actually has to be some communication there and I think a lot of people have the story of I don’t like being confrontational so they think that that kind of discussion is somehow confrontational and it doesn’t have to be at all.

Kris Plachy:         Well, if you wait, if you wait until you’re totally pissed, you’re right. Now it is confrontational. If I just recognize if I walk into a room and something’s not the way that I thought it was and I walk out and say, “Hey, Sandy. I noticed this, this, and this. Can you take a look at that and maybe next time we can talk about how we can make that better next time.” It’s not confrontational. Here’s the thing. People don’t like it when you point out what they didn’t do well. So even if I’ve set expectations and I took you to lunch and we talked about it, when something doesn’t go right if I point it out I need to expect that people will be defensive and that’s okay. Defensiveness is not a reason to stop. I’m just going to expect it. Of course you’re defensive. Nobody likes to be told they messed up. That doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I think you’re amazing but this can’t happen again. I’m just going to expect you to be defensive instead of getting defensive that you’re defensive. Just of course they are.

Katrina Ubell:      Mirroring their emotion. They’re now upset so I’m going to be upset back and having this tug of war. What I’m noticing, what you’re saying is you’ve done your own work first, right? I am in a good place. I love me, I love this person and I just only want the best for both of us. You’re not like grr having this whole internal turmoil with all of your thoughts and I think that so much of burnout that physicians experience is because of emotional burnout from all the negative thoughts that they’re thinking all day long. No wonder they’re so exhausted at the end of the day. I know had that experience as well and so when you learn to manage that for yourself then you can actually show up as someone who can bring out the best in somebody else versus thinking, the answer to me feeling better is this person changing.

Kris Plachy:         Yeah, that’s never going to happen.

Katrina Ubell:      No. Right.

Kris Plachy:         That’s like, will you please change so I can feel better. That would be great.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah right.

Kris Plachy:         That’s not going to happen. You’re the leader. I don’t care whether you’re their official manager or not. You are the leader in the relationship. You have positional authority. You have the opportunity to calibrate and discuss how this relationship will flow. I believe if that doesn’t work, I don’t know the insides of every organization, but what I know is if I ever want to demonstrate that the person I have reporting to me or supporting me isn’t working I need to do that in a manner that is justified through evidence. If I’ve already set expectations and I have clearly documented in my mind and written down observations, I’m not complaining, I’m going to my support team or whoever I work for and saying, “Here are the actual factual problems with this performance.” Not that she’s driving me nuts and she doesn’t listen to me and, right? It’s this. These are the actual facts and that’s what I’m going to pay attention to and if I’ve already done my work over here that gets really easy. If I’m so emotional then I just sit down and I figuratively slump in my chair, I can’t deal with her anymore.

That, people who are higher than you, they don’t want to hear that but they do want to hear, I want you to see the four things that happened last week with a patient and I believe that’s affecting not just my patient scores but our overall clinics performance. I think that needs to be addressed. Here are my recommendations.

Katrina Ubell:      See, I love that right because you’re also saying, here are my recommendations. I’ve determined what a problem is and this is what I see as the solution. I always teach my clients that. It’s like when you are going to go and complain you need to have a solution already. You can have that expectation of the people coming to you. The residents come and complain about something, great. What’s your solution. Tell me what you think would be a good solution. Let them do more work than you’re doing.

Kris Plachy:         Yes, for sure. Well, and it teaches them, it’s about creating problem solving and resilience in employees and staff.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, I love that.

Kris Plachy:         For sure. That’s a great question.

Katrina Ubell:      Now I have a whole long list of how should you handle employees who.

Kris Plachy:         Okay, I get it.

Katrina Ubell:      Number one, how should you handle employees who argue with one another?

Kris Plachy:         With one another?

Katrina Ubell:      Yes.

Kris Plachy:         Don’t ref. Don’t referee. I actually have a podcast on this is how to not be the referee for your employees. So I know we’ll share that podcast info but yeah, that exists. The employees are you with one another and the reason this can become an issue is then they can come to you and want to fix it, yeah?

Katrina Ubell:      Yes.

Kris Plachy:         This happened to me several times as a manager and I used to not know, I didn’t handle it well and I always wanted to be very collaborative and listen. Then I started to realize, wait a minute. Then all that’s happening is now I become the bad guy. One half of this group is not going to be happy with my decision and it wasn’t even mine in the first place. I got involved and shouldn’t have been. In one particular case I had two managers who fought all the time and they would both come to me and I’m like, what am I in a Shakespearian play? I felt very a fellow in Iago dealing it out. I finally said if I get one more of these I will not discuss my decision with either one of you, I will just make one. That shut them both down.

When employees argue, my belief is you go back to them and you tell them, “My expectation of people who work for me is that they are,” and whatever those expectations are that you set, that they’re solutions focused, that they focus on the patient. What I’m watching in the two of you is not demonstrating that expectation. I expect you to work it out.

Katrina Ubell:      Let them own their problem.

Kris Plachy:         I will hold you accountable to working it out. If you can’t work it out, here’s what’s going to happen because it’s unacceptable I have such a strong line on this. Gossip, arguing, passive aggressive, it’s a no. That destroys, destroys cultures and it will destroy your business.

Katrina Ubell:      Seriously that was one of my things. What about the people who gossip, spread rumors, and create drama.

Kris Plachy:         Right, it’s a no. Dave Ramsey has a really good, we can put this in your show notes. Dave Ramsey has a really good two minute video on gossip. He’s pretty bull headed but I love that about him because he talks about how first of all gossip is so insidious that none of us even know we’re doing it.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Kris Plachy:         Basically he defines gossip as you talking to someone about a problem they have no power to fix. Okay, and so it could be about a thing happening in the business or it could be about a person but if they are not in a position of authority to fix it then that’s now you’re gossiping, right?

Katrina Ubell:      Yes.

Kris Plachy:         When we set expectations for our, now we’re thinking about a doctor who’s running their own clinic, right. This is where you can see how having those expectations and I would even take that one step further. If you run a clinic where you do expectations for yourself, you meet with your team, you calibrate with your team their expectations, you post them. They’re everywhere. What are the expectations? I had one client, she wasn’t a physician but she was a chief risk officer and she took every expectation and she gave it to a marketing department and she had them blown up and they were beautiful and they were all over the office and so if I have an expectation of being a team player or being honest or whatever, solutions focused, whatever. I want you to think about those expectations as an umbrella. They’re broad and so most of us don’t have company policies against gossip but we do have an expectation of honesty or we do have an expectation of being solutions focused or being team player.

Gossiping is not aligned with that expectation, any one of those and that’s how I would address it and I did, I had to have a very strong conversation with a very bright, talented, capable women many years ago about gossiping and undermining confidence and it was one of the hardest conversations that I’ve had to have because I loved her because she was amazing but I told her, I have a conversation flow that I teach and so we talk about what is the issue? You were talking about so and so after saying that you wouldn’t. You broke a confidence. The impact is trust is gone. You can’t be on this team if people don’t trust you so if it happens again you won’t be here on this team. It was tough but I can’t stress enough for any of you listening, especially small offices, you get one in there and man the whole thing is a mess.

Katrina Ubell:      What you’re describing right now was the exact description of my 10 years in practice of what was going on. Yep.

Kris Plachy:         It’s terrible.

Katrina Ubell:      If it wasn’t this person then it was somebody else and it varied over the course of time.

Kris Plachy:         Yeah, well it’s whack a mole. It’s a whack a mole game but if you become the physician, here’s the good side you guys. If you become the physician who is recognized as running an organization that is clean and positive and engaged and supportive you will attract the best players in your industry and they will stay. I have goosebumps saying that. I can’t even tell you how, it’s so hard to clean it out. I’m going to give you that but once you do-

Katrina Ubell:      It’s the best work you can do, right? Yeah, it just uplevels your whole organization.

Kris Plachy:         Everything.

Katrina Ubell:      And the thing is is that patients can tell.

Kris Plachy:         For sure.

Katrina Ubell:      Patients can definitely tell and it’s benefit for everybody. It’s a 360 benefit. It only helps with everything but being willing to do that hard work to clear it all.

Kris Plachy:         It is but there’s a process to follow. I got an email from a client today because he was going to fire an employee. He was making her some offers. She had options. I said, “So how did it go?” He wrote back, “Its messy.” He said it’s because he’s so uncomfortable. He said it’s really uncomfortable around here. She has two weeks to decide what she wants. I’m like, “Its all right. You can do messy.”

Katrina Ubell:      All good, yep. We can totally do that.

Kris Plachy:         You’ve done your work, now she has to do hers.

Katrina Ubell:      Now she has to do hers and let her own her work, right? You don’t have to take on her discomfort during that period.

Kris Plachy:         Nothing.

Katrina Ubell:      Right. How do you handle an employee who is pretty unmotivated or the flip side of that is how do you keep your employees motivated if they already are A teamers?

Kris Plachy:         So number one is don’t assume responsibility for other people’s motivation. I know it’s a really interesting dynamic because we tell managers how much they motivate their employees but let’s really break down what happens. Motivation is a feeling so where does the feeling come from?

Katrina Ubell:      Wait, I think I know.

Kris Plachy:         Do you know? Maybe you’ve heard this before.

Katrina Ubell:      I think it might be from your thoughts.

Kris Plachy:         Right. Employees think thoughts that make them feel unmotivated, right? I cannot make you be motivated but what I have responsibility for is how I influence your thoughts. When we have somebody whose unmotivated, my first advice to you is take off your list to fix them. It’s not your job. Right?

Katrina Ubell:      Yes.

Kris Plachy:         What we need the employee to see is look I see that you’re unmotivated or whatever they would call themselves and here’s the impact so this is the actions you’re taking when you feel this way, right? We just run them through that so they can see their own behavior. Then we ask them, are you willing to feel differently about your job?

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, that’s so good.

Kris Plachy:         If they say yeah, I really do. I like the people here, I just feel really drained. Okay, so what else do you think about what you do here that makes you feel better? What else can you believe? Then you can hold them accountable to the thinking and then the results but you cannot make them feel different. What I believe happens and the reason why we have so many engagement, 70 to 80% of working employees today are disengaged. That’s what Gallup says. That’s ridiculous.

Katrina Ubell:      That is ridiculous.

Kris Plachy:         If you have 10 people on your team, that’s seven. The reason, I believe there’s a couple key reasons. We don’t have managers who are well trained so they’re not managing on purpose, they’re in reaction mode especially that office manager who has no management experience is in a technical expert in healthcare and insurance and accounting but they don’t know one things about corralling and motivating a team. We have to develop that person. Then, there’s no accountability. So if I’m a top performer, if I like to perform well but I work with three other people who could care less, eventually that’s going to suck me dry.

If those three aren’t being held accountable, why do I keep working hard?

Katrina Ubell:      It’s like that old Jim Rohn quote of you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Well, you spend a lot of time with your coworkers and you can bring in this one amazing person but if the other people are what you’re describing, eventually it’s like you go to the average.

Kris Plachy:         You do and if you’re boss-

Katrina Ubell:      … other kids hanging out with the “wrong crowd.” It’s like this is the thing. Yeah.

Kris Plachy:         Yeah and as the physician who runs the department or the office, if you’re not holding those three people accountable that’s affecting the motivation of the organization. That’s what your responsibility is. Your responsibility is to have clear expectations, your responsibility is to have clear accountability processes and how you show up. When you walk in the office, who do they meet? Do they meet someone who just goes straight back and starts working or do they meet something who says good morning, thank you for being here. It’s great to see you today.

Katrina Ubell:      Who seems like they actually care about you, yeah.

Kris Plachy:         If these are subtleties but it’s how do you influence the thoughts that they think? We can’t ever underestimate that even when you have positional authority so if you’re the boss or if you’re the clinic owner, your facial expressions trigger thoughts.

Katrina Ubell:      Totally. Yeah, and there’s some doctors are really intimidating. The way that the assistants or the helpers are, they’re like, “Oh my God. And now he’s super mad and …” everyone’s all up in a tizzy about it and there’s so much of a dynamic there and you’re spending hours and hours and hours with these people every week. More than you would see your family.

Kris Plachy:         If I’m the leader, I have the responsibility to understand myself first and if I’ve heard more than once, let’s give you three times that you’re intimidating, you need to pay attention. That’s not just everybody else’s problem. It means there’s something-

Katrina Ubell:      Right and that’s how then you’re working on how am I showing up? Am I showing up as the boss that I want to be or the leader that I want to be or the manager that I want to be. Then really thinking with intention how am I approaching. The saying good morning thing is so interesting, right because I won’t go into details, keep names anonymous but keep people anonymous but it really is interesting the people who come in with a, “Good morning, how are you?” Versus the people who come in already pissed basically from who knows what, you don’t even know why. You say good morning-

Kris Plachy:         No, but people will make it mean it’s their fault.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. Or that you’re a jerk and then what do they see? All the evidence for how you’re a jerk.

Kris Plachy:         For sure. For sure and then they’re unmotivated.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes.

Kris Plachy:         You can’t make someone be motivated but you can absolutely have influence over the culture and the energy and the thoughts that people think. If there’s one person unmotivated then we coach them. If it’s an engagement issue then we have a lot of elements that we need to look at.

Katrina Ubell:      Kris, I could’ve asked you seriously three times as many questions and so for sure if this is helpful to anybody who’s listening we can have her come back so just let us know. Email hello@katrinaubellmd.com or in the show notes for this episode definitely let us know. So, you work with organizations, you work with people one on one. Yes. Tell us about what you have to offer us, tell us about your podcast, tell us everything.

Kris Plachy:         Sure. I have a podcast called How To Lead. It’s on iTunes.

Katrina Ubell:      I listen to it. My husband listens to it.

Kris Plachy:         Yeah, it’s short, 15, 20 minute snippets on anything you can think of as it relates to leading and managing and it’s pretty much for anyone depending on if you’re brand new or run your own business I think you’ll find something in there that’s helpful. I do do, I have a manager formula program so it’s a coaching program for people who manage people so what you get in that program are modules, videos on the key things that we’ve been talking about. Setting expectations, accountability, coaching, dealing with difficult employees, leading and managing through change. Really the core things that I in my tenure have found that the giving feedback. These are the things that people really, really struggle with. If there’s someone out there who’s just feeling like I just had a guy just hire me a couple weeks ago and he’s ready to sell his three businesses. He’s like, “I can’t do this anymore.” No, you can do this. We just need to-

Katrina Ubell:      The answer is not jump ship.

Kris Plachy:         Let’s not do that yet. Let’s at least try putting some of this stuff into place and see if we can make an impact. Then for your listeners I do have this little ebook. It’s called The Difficult Employee Remedy Handbook. It’s very short. It’s little. I don’t know if you’re going to have a zoom link or not but it’s very small. If you want your copy you can just go to my website which is leadershipcoachllc.com/difficultemployeeremedy and then you’ll get the book.

Katrina Ubell:      We’ll put that in the show notes for this episode, definitely.

Kris Plachy:         For sure.

Katrina Ubell:      Awesome.

Kris Plachy:         It’s great to be here and I know that you guys do such good work and don’t let these silly little management things get in the way of doing the powerful work of the world of healing people. I’m a big fan of doctors. My husband’s a physical therapist so we talk about these kinds of things all the time.

Katrina Ubell:      I think a lot of that is it’s just all the same. It’s like I recognize that I need this team to help me. I can’t do it by myself but all of this drama and nonsense pulls away from your purpose of why you’re even doing this in the first place. When you signed up for med school you weren’t like, “I can’t wait to manage a bunch of really difficult people who don’t want to be there.”

Kris Plachy:         Who are trained in being dramatic because the culture, the culture of medical offices is like this so you get a new one it’s like if they’ve already been working for 20 years this is what they’re used to. They bring it with them.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, right.

Kris Plachy:         Makes me think of visually you hire a gardener to come mow your lawn but they just mowed the lawn over there and there was crab grass in that lawn and so now they’ve just spread the crab grass onto your lawn without even, it’s just a culture of but I really, really mean it for the physicians listening. You could be the physician that everybody wants to work for when you create that culture that’s so healthy. You never have to work hard ever again to find good talent.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, and your reputation is so good. That is really amazing where you’re like, yeah every time we need to hire someone new it’s so hard to pick from all the amazing applications we have because people have been chomping at the bit to work at our office. Yeah, that sounds amazing. Okay, Kris is your answer to having that experience. All right thanks Kris.

Kris Plachy:         It was so great to talk to you today. Thank you so much.

Katrina Ubell:      You too. Thanks.

Thanks for joining me today. If you like what you heard here be sure to hit subscribe in your podcast app so you never miss an episode. You can also get my Busy Doctors Quick Start Guide to Effective Weight Loss for free by visiting me over at katrinaubellmd.com




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