Wednesday, 31 July 2013

To berate or not to berate...?

One of the team was late to this morning's simulation.  The call time was for 8:15am and by 8:30 he had not arrived and I hadn't heard from him.

I called the agency to confirm (again) that he was actually booked.  He was.

They called him.

They called me back.

"He's on his way.  He says he'll be there in about 20 minutes."

"What happened?"

"I'll let him explain his circumstances when he gets there."

Right.  In that moment I had a number of thoughts going through my mind:

1.  Was he okay?
2. Thank goodness I follow theatre traditions and call people to be on set one hour before we film.
3.  Why didn't he ring me?
4. Was he okay?

He arrived at just after 9am.  A little under 15 minutes before the simulation was due to start.   Taking one look at him, I could see he was giving himself a good talking to.

My first question was "Are you okay?"

He was.  He instantly apologised and explained that he'd been out the night before, didn't set the alarm and so had slept in.  Points for honesty.

I asked him not to worry about that for now and focus on the work we were about to do.  I coached him to get his head straight and settle down.  His energy was nervy and sparky - not what was required for a mental health simulation with an anxious (simulated) patient.  We would talk afterwards.

The simulation went ahead and afterwards he apologised again.  I didn't say it was okay - he looked like he was waiting for that.  Then he said, "It's not okay.  I'm disappointed in myself.  It shouldn't happen."

I replied:  "No it shouldn't happen.  Now, do you have my number in your phone?  I'm not going to say anything else because I can see that you're being harder on yourself than I ever would be.  I trust that you'll be here for the next call on time and if something happens you'll call me.  Thanks for your work today."

He left.

I haven't been confronted with this issue for ages. I'm a firm believer that people are doing their best and that adults should be allowed to take responsibility for themselves.  I believe the approach I took will be more effective than an angry outburst.  I think he told me the truth about what happened and that is also to be respected.

What's your approach when a member of your team does something unacceptable?

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