I know it’s an odd thing; and, no, my wife has nothing to worry about. But I love my dental hygienist. I’ve been going to the dentist most of my life, and many of the dental hygienists I’ve had have been sadistic torturers. They were rough on my teeth. They were tough on my gums. And they often had a personality to match.
But the reasons I really like her go more deeply than that. The way she does her work and cares about her job are a lesson to those of us who want to lead and inspire others. It doesn’t matter what your job or position is, you can make someone’s day better in a few simple ways.
Here’s what my dental hygienist does:
- She spends time getting to know me. The first thing my dental hygienist does, even before we get to the examination room, is to engage me with meaningful conversation. She remembers from my last visit details about my life. So she asks me about my daughter’s job, my son’s wedding, and how my wife is doing. And she’s not one of those hygienists who likes to keep the conversation going while I have my mouth wide open. She knows when to simply go about her work and save the conversation for later.
- She is careful and care full. She is not one of those torturous souls who loves to inflict pain. In fact, she’s the most gentle hygienist I’ve ever had. She takes her time, but she’s not too slow. Instead, she is careful. And I can tell that she cares about her work because she is meticulous. I have yet to have her stab my gum or be too harsh with the floss.
- She sends me a thank you note. Yes, really. A few days after I go to the dentist I receive from her a handwritten note thanking me for coming in, mentioning some things she gleaned from our conversation, and telling me that she’s looking forward to my next appointment.
Here’s what you and I can learn from her:
- People appreciate being “known.” How can you get to know someone today on a deeper level? Take the time to have good conversations, including plenty of time for listening to the other person.
- People appreciate attention to detail. No matter what you are doing in life there is always the opportunity to do it well. Excellence and care seem to be in high demand yet short supply these days. Make it your business to be careful and care full.
- People appreciate being thanked. When’s the last time you received a written thank you note in the mail? I bet it was the first thing you opened in the stack of mail. We love the personal touch. There aren’t many things that have a more personal touch than a handwritten note.
How do you show people you care?