The Importance Of A Smile

Smiles.

So simple and yet so very powerful. They alone have the ability to break through indifference, warm the emotions of others around, and when used at the right time can influence what others will do. Smiles are relatively cheap in comparison and virtually every budget is able to afford as many smiles as you need.

smiling blondeSmiles are one of the most important tools that you will have as both a provider and a leader when dealing with people from all occupations and social classes. Provided that our happiness in life will depend largely on how we interact and manage a connection with others, a sincere smile is the most effective way to establish a relationship and build a rapport and compatibility with others. A smile will maintain the attention of the person you are speaking to, helps boost openness through body language, helps reassure the other person of your attentiveness to what they are trying to communicate, and genuineness at being willing to help or aid them.

Smiles are also a true mood changer. Feeling negatively or being in a bad mood often results in similar body language such as frowns, furrowed brows, scowls, and lower lip biting. Consciously choosing to smile instead of displaying the aforementioned negative characteristics has the power to change the mood of yourself and those around you who may also be having negative feelings. Smiling in these moments will help lift your own spirit, improve your outlook on the situation, and lead you to making positive decisions using good judgment that is no longer tainted by the negative atmosphere.

Want to know the best part about a smile? Everyone has one, including you! Use it to your advantage in reaching your goals with others.

What If Gordon Ramsay Was An EMS Leader?

I am a big fan of Gordon Ramsay. I thoroughly enjoy his Kitchen Nightmares show and desperately want to be a diner in Hell’s Kitchen. So when John Harrington wrote a post on what Gordon can teach photographers, I began to wonder about what Gordon would do if he was an EMS Chief.

EMS is, in no uncertain terms, a service based industry. We do not create products for our customers, we create experiences. EMS can be related to the restaurant business in a simple comparison:

  • Servers – On an ambulance the servers are the EMTs and Paramedics. They need to be courteous and communicate effectively with both the customer and the “kitchen”
  • Food – The overall customer experience from the time the call is placed to the follow-up
  • Decor – The actual ambulance itself, both exterior and especially the interior
  • Hostess Stand – The call receiving center/dispatcher where the initial call is actually received
  • Kitchen – The dispatch center/garage where the experience is crafted before reaching the customer
  • Roaming Manager – The Quality Assurance follow up on the call and the satisfaction level of the customer

All of these areas are critical to creating the experience for the customer.

Ramsay in no uncertain terms demands excellence. When he does not see or taste excellence, he clearly communicates his displeasure. While his methods are usually brash, abrasive, and can be considered over the top, the fact is that he gets his displeasure and his demands across effectively and makes no apologies for them.

As brash as Ramsay may be, what he also does is provide positive feedback and praise when his demands and expectations are met or exceeded. This is a vital aspect often overlooked whenever discussion of his comparatively behavior ensues but an important aspect to understand. Providing feedback constructively, whether it is for a negative or a positive performance is something every EMS Leader (admittedly including myself) needs to do more of.

Do you think Gordon Ramsay would make a good EMS Leader? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…

The Shrinking Difference Between Leadership And Management

The difference between management and leadership used to be very easy to delineate. Alan Murray, the author of The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management: Lasting Lessons from the Best Leadership Minds of Our Time, writes that “The managers job was to plan, organize, and coordinate. The leaders job was to motivate and inspire.[1]” Managers managed resources through edict or memorandum to a metric or a set of metrics, leaders led resources through inspiration to achieving an outcome or a goal. Some Agencies would go so far as to bestow titles on both their managers and their leaders, while others opted for a less structured organization.

In today’s world leadership and management have lost some of that separation. Murray contends that, “People look to their managers, not just to assign them a task, but to define for them a purpose. And managers must organize workers, not just to maximize efficiency, but to nurture skills, develop talent and inspire results.[2]” I can’t help but agree with him based on just the past 5 years of seeing freshly minted providers come into the field with less preparation as those who came in before them, and even the providers 10 years back really weren’t coming in too prepared.

When writing this post I originally titled it “Leadership vs. Management“. After drafting it, pondering, and editing I decided to change the title. Leadership and Management are not in opposition to one another. A leader does not necessarily have to be a manager and, similarly, being a manager does not automatically make you a leader. To be truly successful in this day and age you do need to have skills from both toolboxes.

What remains dangerous is the assumption that because someone is good at one, that they would automatically be good at the other. A good manager is not necessarily a good leader, and a good leader does not necessarily make a good manager. Making this assumption in terms of the food service industry, a good server does not necessarily make a good chef, and a good chef does not necessarily make a good server. While they both work in the food service industry, their roles in a restaurant are quite a bit different.

This is an assumption we often make in EMS. We think that a good provider who can manage an airway will make a good supervisor. We promote them, give them some basic instruction, and then wonder why they don’t know everything there is to managing people. We forget that they’ve had plenty of practice in the classroom managing airways to meet the standard of a model airway. When they got to the field they were able to manage the airway. Granted, that first, second, and probably third managed airway may not have been the prettiest airway, but they managed it, learned from it, and improved upon it. Each improvement brought them to the point where they were able to match the model of a managed airway that was already presented to them. If we just judged their ability to manage airways by that first and second airway, we’d be wondering why they don’t know everything there is about managing airways.

As the differences between managers and leaders shrinks we need to be able to marry the two. While it may not be pretty the first few times, we need to believe in those who have been selected to lead AND manage others. More importantly is that we must give them a model to strive for and set the example for them at every chance we get.

If the providers have been coming out ill prepared for the reality of working in the Emergency Medical Services, then we need to make sure their Manager/Leader is prepared to help them succeed. The failure of one results in a failure, at some level, of all.

[1][2]What Is The Difference Between Management And Leadership?
The Wall Street Journal
Alan Murray
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