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This is particularly important when interacting with patients. “It’s the staff and the physicians’ jobs to identify and communicate well with those patients in a way that makes them feel comfort- able,” Zoch says. “It’s not incumbent upon the patients to understand. They’re the customer. A greater understanding of these generational differences can im- prove your patient satisfaction scores.” Since communication is gener-

ally where breakdowns occur, that’s also the area for the greatest opportu- nity for change, Zoch says. “You can’t communicate unless you understand,” he says. “As [author] Dr. Steven Covey said, ‘Seek first to understand, then be understood.’ I think that is a tremen- dous rule to remember.” Williamson agrees. “Once people

are aware of what’s happening in their environment, and the differences be- tween people—differences in back-

We need to establish what the expectations are. I think every generation responds favorably to that, but I don’t think we’re very good at it. I think we tend to withhold positive constructive criticism for fear of offending people, and then we let things drift until it gets out of hand.”

—Perry Stahlman, Meridian Surgical Partners

ground, upbringing, geography and even nationality—people can at least make themselves aware of the level of emotion that’s rising and why,” he says. “What they will need from that point is a facilitator, and that’s where the leadership comes in. If there’s an interaction between coworkers or even superiors and subordinates, leadership really needs to focus on the differences of generations. They need to go back to their policies and make sure those policies create an environ-

ment and culture that is tolerant of all of the many backgrounds and the many people who interact on a daily basis. This includes patients as well. “How they will navigate depends

upon their education and training re- garding

three national movements:

Five Levels of Leadership, Emotional Intelligence and Best Places to Work. Based on these three models they can craft a direction for the culture they lead

today.” (See “Three National Leadership Movements” on page 12.)



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