I want to introduce you to how to deal with energy vampires, because we all have them at one time or another and these guys/gals can walk in the sunshine. So let’s start with a quick down and dirty list of vampires because they come in all shapes and sizes.
1. The Underachiever: This is that staff member that was hired in desperation when someone left. They could feel that you needed them more than they needed you. You probably pay them too much and you avoid creating accountability and consequences that should have weeded them out months (years) ago. Finally, by allowing them to use up good air in your office, you encourage others to strive for less. It’s the old “what you allow, you encourage”. Remember: They “walk among us”.
2. The Passive/Aggressive Pot Stirrer: This one is very difficult to find. It shows up in a lack of “team” engagement. Your employees just never seem to see joy in their work, and there is always constant conflict and situations that pit the front desk against the clinical staff, or doctors against the staff. Often times they have the best performance at their job, but lack one of the major attributes of a great team member with a lack of self-motivation and people skills. They “hide in plain sight”, and in a way are the worst of the worst.
3. The Incompetent: While similar to the Underachiever, this vampire often slips into the team in a rushed hire or is a friend of a current team member. They can’t be fixed and you know it. In almost every office I have seen, there’s one there. It’s as plain as the nose on your face, but the doctor has failed to deal with it. Everyone knows it, the doctor has intended to deal with it, but somehow we keep writing that paycheck. They will literally “suck the life” out of you.
4. The Superstar: I know how this is going to sound, so don’t write me and call me a sexist son of a gun. Women sometimes are great at manipulating other people. I wish I was half as good as the least of the female gender when it comes to staging and manipulation, but this vampire has a great resume, has all the tools and experience in dentistry, and a great self-image for no apparent reason. They look good. They act fine. But somehow everyone in the office wants to throw up when they have to interface with them. This is the “office manager” you hired from outside the office and gave positional authority without them earning it. Or maybe the great looking hygienist you just hired that travels around teaching profitability in the hygiene department. You will scratch you head and look for every reason but the obvious one as to why there is so much turmoil in your office and never look at them. Very sneaky and very scary.
5. Family Members: I know, I’ve stopped preaching and have gone to meddling, but if I have told you once, I have told you a million times to NEVER HIRE SOMEONE YOU CAN NOT FIRE. There is always the exception, but wives, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, etc., can cause huge problems in a team. They will always be the doctor’s family and less of a team member. They will always be treated different. If you have had this work in your office, congratulations. For the rest of us, try to avoid this. Just think how remorseful you will feel when you have to “drive a stake through their heart”. Fire a family member and see how great the holidays are.
So, what do you do if you find an energy vampire in you midst? Keep in mind that you should adapt my mantra: “I am not going to pay someone to make my life miserable”.
Remember: There are only two types of employees.
1. Those that need to be retrained.
2. Those that you need to free up their future.
Drive a stake through their heart, cut their head off, or burn them at the stake. These are the only sure-fire ways to get rid of vampires.
Become a vampire killer! That’s how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS