Facing Fear Factors

In Health, Impacting Patients by Stephanie Baker

If you are a practice or business-owner pondering the difficult decisions on how to move forward since Covid-19, it is imperative to make sound, rational decisions, in the absence of fear. While the long-term effects on the economy, society, and epidemiology remain uncertain, our practices must move forward in the delivery of care. Of certainty, is the underlying fear due to the lack of accurate and changing information.

Employees are apprehensive about returning to work for fear of contracting the illness. Patients are worried about whether practices are utilizing increased disinfection measures. This doubtfulness results in questioning the necessity of dental care altogether, and if the benefit is greater than the risk. Personal protection equipment (PPE) acquisition and allocation, is the consideration of every practice owner, and if the increase in fees to cover these increased measures, will affect patient compliance and acceptance of treatment.

These and other concerns have festered for weeks, while we’ve waited patiently (impatiently?) for permission to reopen our businesses. We’re reinventing, recreating, and restructuring all we once knew, for newer COVID-compliant protocols.

The term, “the new normal” has become the new normal. This new business climate involves navigating much more than supply chains and price negotiations.

Within every challenge, lies an opportunity.

Leadership is the ability to inspire and guide, even in the most trying times. The greatest visions are often birthed from undesired challenges. Covid-19 has provided an opportune moment to grow your leadership skills by managing patients’ and employees’ fears. This is best done by developing and strengthening trust.

How can we solidify trust while standing on the unstable platform of uncertainty? Communication. Quelling fears and establishing trust are reinforced by leadership’s response to challenging times. Establishing a communication protocol will help negate the frenzied media delivery of information (and often conflicting misinformation) delivered via news outlets.

In the absence of true leadership, people are wired to gravitate toward negativity. While worry is a normal response to uncertain times, maintaining control of emotions is key to moving forward.

Negativity, if unaddressed, will intensify the molehill of misinformation into a mountain of demoralization. Genuine leaders acknowledge fears, with the steady assurance they are actively engaged in finding solutions. The guarantee that you are staying abreast of the situation, even in the presence of uncertainty and lack of solution-based information, conveys a message of strong leadership. Security empowers people and replaces fear with unification.

In the midst of confusion, communicate calm and you’ll be met with the soothing steadfastness of a committed team.