The Green-Eyed Monster Really Gets Around


Would you know one when if you encountered one?

I used to participate actively in competitive tennis leagues. I certainly wasn’t anything special, but I enjoyed the exercise, loved getting out in the sunshine, and even appreciated the interaction with the other players.

We had to be rated based on our ability and then placed in a group with other women of equal playing level.  Accordingly, it was pretty well balanced. The one thing that I did notice was that some were there for basically the same reasons that I was, and there were others that took it so seriously they would not even interact if they lost the match and would stomp off the court in McEnroe fashion.

I played until the season was complete and then chose not to get back into group tennis.  It just wasn’t fun when you knew that you were there for the enjoyment (win or lose), liked the social aspect, and really looked forward to playing singles particularly for the great aerobic exercise. When I realized the majority of players did not join for the same reasons that I did, it lost the appeal for me.  I wanted to say “Come on ladies, lighten up and let’s have fun!”

I share this story as an example of how behavior manifests itself in various situations.  Not always winning, hating to lose, and taking things like this so very seriously is clearly an illustration of one’s insecurity.  Although generalization is always touchy, I can tell you that in tennis we see this very often in females and rarely in males.

Is there a correlation here to my usual subject matter?  How does this tie in with the behaviors we see in dental practices and specifically within team member dynamics? Let’s explore this a little.

As caregivers (and females), I believe we are all clear with what this boils down to as far as our behavioral style.  We are sensitive, do not like change, do not like conflict, do not want to be thought of as less than our peers, and dislike not being accepted or appreciated.

Often these characteristics will show up in the form of jealousy, insecurity, and intimidation, which rears its ugly head in all types of settings.  A good example is when a new team member is introduced to the existing group and an announcement is made about “her long history in the field” or that she “has special skill sets that no one else within the employee pool has” (or it may even be as simple as her beautiful eyes, healthy look, or outstanding smile). In my analogy to tennis, it could be the one in the group that may be on the top of the rating scale, is naturally talented, returns more balls than most, and is generally a strong player for the team.

Rather than to embrace and appreciate all that this new person might offer to the efficiency of the dental team (for example helping to cut back on the work load for the others), some people still object to bringing her into the practice.  There are many positives as to why an extremely talented team member can prove to be an added plus to the operation of the practice.

So with all this said, why the resistance?  Do they NOT want the help? Do they NOT see any value in streamlining the processes, thus working smarter and not harder? Do they not realize that having extra teamwork can bring up the bottom line for the practice assuring everyone of job security and perhaps wage increases?

There can be many advantages to the entire team that can be derived from hiring a new employee with special talents or experience. In the case of a dental team, I have observed situations where one, two, or more of the existing team actually resents the hire of this new person based on their own personal insecurities.  Doesn’t this sound counter-intuitive when it is broken down this way?

Have you ever met the green-eyed monster?

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