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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Playing at Work

Just so I don't come across as always preaching at my fellow pharms, I want to discuss something more lighthearted: play. That's right, play. I like to play at work. You know, laugh, joke, generally have a good time. I've worked in pharmacies where as soon as someone cracks a smile the pharmacy manager snaps," Less laughing, more working!" You get that "wet-dishtowel-thrown-on-the-spirit" feeling. My first thought (and often my first verbal response) has often been, "I thought I was working. What do you call those 200+ prescriptions I just processed?" Ours has always been and always will be a job of multi-tasking. Can't one of those multi be having fun? We often think that having fun means we're not paying attention to what we're doing, and that can be the case, but not always. I can allow my staff to take five minutes out of their down time to laugh a little. Just the other day my staff and I were practically rolling on the floor laughing about dressing up like a "crack-head" for Halloween! After going into great detail about how this would be done (laughing so hard that tears were running down our faces), we decided that neither corp. nor our customers would appreciate our humor. (Actually, some of our customers would probably think they were looking in the mirror, but that's a subject for another blog.) My point is, that this interaction took about five minutes but the overall feeling it produced lasted much longer and influenced the general atmosphere of the pharmacy in avery positive way. When I became the manager at my current store, I swore to myself the the words, "No laughing" would never cross my lips. Many of you are thinking, "Yeah, but I have staff members that won't stay focused if I allow that kind of behavior." Well, I've had those same people working for me. What I've found is that I can still allow the fun, I just need to be able to refocus their attention when its needed. It takes some effort. Its like directing a conversation; your can motivate that person to "get back to business" by some other means. Even if its just saying, "OK, we need to focus.", but doing it in a non-judgmental, non-belittling way. Its all in the delivery, in other words. If we allow our people to relax and laugh a little they'll be more productive and they'll accept direction more readily than if they're tense and already on the defense. Being this kind of supervisor inspires people to want to work for you and over time you'll spend less time managing and more time doing the pharmacy stuff you were trained for. So, live a little, laugh a little and somewhere in there fill a few prescriptions.

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