a guest blog post by Joanna Taylor MHS (Acc)
Joanna Taylor is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Trainee Psychotherapist and Certified Trainer of NLP. She provides courses and in-house training in hypnosis, communication skills and stress management, in addition to one-to-one coaching and therapy for clients suffering from stress, anxiety, phobias and low self-esteem.
How many of us find that, however much we love them, prolonged close proximity to visiting relatives can make us a little… well… fractious? Perhaps an offer of help in the kitchen from Great Aunt Flo results in something being prepared not quite the way you would have liked it to be (“I like my vegetables so that they just melt in the mouth, dear!”), or a nephew wants to play a video game on the television when all you want is peace and quiet in front of the fire. The fact is, we all have different ideas of what makes our leisure time perfect for us, and often fail to understand another’s behaviour (“…and he answered his mobile at the table during supper!”) This is largely due to our own individual values, which are unique and personal to each of us. I will never put anything down on the enamel top of my Aga, for example, in case I scratch it, but I have a close friend who slides pans off the hobs to keep warm on hers – and she doesn’t mind the scratches.
Our values are what is important to us; more than any other element in our personal and professional lives, values are the basis for, and have the most effect on, our behaviours and any changes that are made. Our values drive our true purpose as human beings; they are those things in which we are willing to invest time, energy and resources to achieve or avoid. Our values are, as the name suggests, an evaluation filter, operating differently in different contexts, and are used to provide motivation before we take action (“I’ve eaten far too much over the holiday; I need to go on a diet.”), and also for after-the-fact evaluation; judgements about our actions and those of other people (“Well, I wouldn’t let any child of mine behave like that!”).
Our values are the way we judge good and bad, right and wrong, and they remain for the most part unconscious; we don’t usually think about our values at all, until somebody else treads on them…
In our professional lives, too, we will all have our own, individual values. What is important to you about your job? When I ask this in a training session, I will receive a different list from everybody – working with people, making a difference, having fun, money, security and so on. And your practice as a whole will have its own values; for example, at our practice we have certain values around time. It’s really important to us that we spend plenty of time with our patients and that, as far as is possible, we run to time – we want our patients to know that we take time to listen to them and we appreciate that their time is just as important as our own. It’s therefore important to us that our staff share those particular values – so if, for example, we were looking for an associate, we would not want somebody who took only five minutes to do a check-up and who constantly ran late. When everyone’s values are aligned within a practice, you know you can move forward together to achieve your vision for the future, because what is important to you is also important to them.
One of the main reasons why people leave their existing job is because they don’t “feel valued”. In other words, their own values are being violated by somebody else’s, or their values are not in alignment with those of their place of work. Do you know what’s important to your staff or your colleagues about their work? Have you ever asked them?
Just as in our personal life, a conflict of values at work can cause conflict between individuals. In NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) we adopt the philosophy that everybody lives in their own “Model of the World” – that is, they have their own beliefs, values and opinions that shape their view of reality. We all have the right to hold our own personal beliefs and values, so it can help to diffuse conflict by accepting this philosophy and respecting another person’s “Model of the World”. We might not agree with it, but we can have total respect for their right to believe differently from ourselves.
Do you know what is really important to your patients? Sometimes their ideas might be radically different from yours because we all have our own opinion as to what is important to us. How useful would it be if you could discover a patient’s values just through conversation? When you understand what is important to your patient, it means that you know exactly how to satisfy their needs, and your patient knows you are really listening to them. You may consider that a patient with discoloured teeth would certainly be interested in a whitening treatment, but is that their value, or your own? Respect their “Model of the World” – and in order to do that, you first need to find out what that is…
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