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a blog by Chris Barrow

Building a positive balance in your emotional bank account - Lisa Bainham writes...

I don’t believe that many of us often skip into our practices, every day, and feel excited, unburdened by our home/personal lives, and embrace a perfectly happy, drama free day!

Ok, so many of us love our jobs, and do get a certain buzz from it, but what happens when we aren’t feeling the joys of Spring.

We put on our game face.

We leave our troubles at the back door.

We get on with it, quietly and professionally.

We put on our bullet proof pants (I would say put on our big girl pants, but really don’t want to be sexist or think about the males in our practice wearing girls pants *, that would be even more inappropriate 😊) *whatever your preference is fine by the way, whatever you wear under your scrubs is your own business!

So what happens if we are having a not so good day, or are feeling low, worried, anxious, or just a bit off? Yes we can do the above to an extent, but what I would prefer is that we create a culture in our teams that starts with “Are you ok?” “What can I help with?”

We bang on about our teams being teams, not staff. We tick a few boxes on our team wellbeing missions, and get our “well led” “caring” “safe” etc , ducks in a row, but what can we do every day, without effort, without it being something we just have to do?

We recognise each other as equals, as people, as human beings, and as a member of our team, that we support and help, show kindness, and empathy, and provide practical, as well as mental support to.

It starts with an agreement that we are all there to help each other, and ask for help when its needed, knowing we won’t be judged.

The bonuses we get organically from creating this culture within our teams is vital for productivity, retention, patient care and our own happiness.

I always remember some great advice I received many years ago, and I still go on about it to my team, particularly to new recruits, as I want them to embrace the mentality of our team, so they can support and be supported in return.

The advice I received is in relation to those off days, the days we may struggle to feel positive or maybe feel a bit snappy, or grumpy.

If we imagine our behaviour is a bank account. We can all build up credit when we have our positive, productive, motivating happy self-days. When we have our not so great days, we debit that account a little, and we understand that each of us can do that occasionally, but we must stay in the black, or at least try to overall.

Please don’t mistake my halo for weakness, and understand that not everyone will want to adopt this culture. Some may even take advantage, in which case, that’s a whole other conversation we should have on performance management. The key is getting all the team on board, and understanding they are collectively accountable and responsible.

When I visit practices for team training, or speak at events, one of the things I like to do is for us to talk about how we achieve better culture in our teams, and for those who know me, aren’t surprised when I whip out my handbells, hobby horses, or have a game of dental lingo bingo! Yes there are some very clever business, “blue sky” “think outside the box” reasons why I do it, but secretly (or not so much now) I do it for fun, to show that as leaders, managers, part of a team, we should never underestimate the power of having a laugh and a bit of silliness.

It really bumps up our bank account of happiness and positive culture within our teams.

If you would like to arrange a team training day with Lisa, please contact her at

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