Coping with distraction

Coping with distraction

Jun 01, 2006

Q. How do I deal with a team member who is going through a personal issue and seems noticeably distracted during work?

"If you notice a team member's distracted and you want to offer support, ask if he or she would like to go to lunch and talk, or meet for coffee the next morning before work," says Marty Stanley, a writer and consultant and the president of Dynamic Dialog Inc. in Kansas City, Mo. "Don't take work time to help him or her deal with the issue. It's important to honor the fact that work time is for working."

Often in small business, you get to know everyone so well that it's easy to think, "Oh, she's going through a divorce and she's a little on edge, I'd better not ask her to file those records." But it's dangerous to change your standards or make excuses, Stanley says. "You want to be compassionate, but you need to be fair to the rest of your team, too."

If the person's performance is notably impaired for more than a couple of days, meet with him or her and address the specific behaviors that are causing problems. For example, has the quantity of work declined? Is he or she being discourteous to clients? Stanley suggests you let the person know you count on him or her to do a good job.

Marty Stanley
Also, discuss the option of providing an employee-assistance program with your insurance carrier. Then you can steer team members outside the practice to discuss their situation with a professional. "People in the veterinary field are very sympathetic, but that can be a pitfall because they become too involved," Stanley says. For more information on this topic, be sure to review "Personnel with Personal Problems," in May 2006.

Hot topics on dvm360

Pol on defense as Michigan veterinary board discusses negligence charges

Controversial reality TV veterinarian calls his approach 'common sense.'

Photo gallery: The top 10 veterinary schools in America, according to U.S. News

U.S. News & World Report ranks programs for the first time since 2011.

Front Desk Disasters, Episode 3: Dude looks like a lady

Everyone's favorite receptionist is at it again. Would you handle this situation differently?

Video: Flea hideouts in the house

Parasitology expert Michael Dryden, DVM, MS, PhD, reveals prime hideouts for fleas—and gives tips to clear them out of clients' homes for good.

Veterinarians: Your clients are going to Google with these cat questions

You might be surprised by what your clients are researching. Plus, get an educational client handout.