Almost all job postings list skills in the Requirements section. You may need training in a certain areas, like medical billing and coding or healthcare management. You probably also need to know your way around the systems you'll be using, and have experience with the actual job.
What you probably won't find on those job postings is soft skills—but these skills can actually help you succeed in your new role. Soft skills are hard to define, but they're important to your success. They're the skills that help you respond and adapt to problems, get along with your coworkers and identify opportunities for growth.
The good news is, you can easily develop soft skills if you identify the ones you need and set your mind to growing them. So here are 3 soft skills that will benefit you—no matter the position.
Medical offices are made up of people, and people have communication styles. To be the best at your job, you need to know how to communicate with your coworkers and superiors, which means understanding their different communication styles.
This requires analysis, preparation and thought.
First you analyze the way a person speaks to you, to figure out the best way to communicate back. If you're talking to someone who speaks and reacts emotionally, for example, focusing on emotions could be the best way to reply. A good response might be: “I feel that the patient intake process slows down the office and frustrates patients.”
Once you know how to respond to someone based on their communication style, you want to prepare your statements beforehand if possible. This helps you hit all of the important points.
But before you speak, you also want to think over your responses one more time and analyze them from an outsider's perspective. Are you letting any frustration or anger seep into your communications? Are you responding objectively? Asking these questions will help you rise above any emotional undercurrents in your office and focus on the important part: the information.
Being adaptable and open to change.
In the healthcare world, things change and develop quickly. You should expect to pick up a few duties that aren't in your job description. You should also expect to solve problems that don't exactly line up with your previous experience.
The more adaptable you are, the better you'll be able to support your medical office or facility through unexpected changes.
Adaptability also means being willing to learn new processes and systems. If your office switches over to a new patient tracking system, for example, you need to learn that system quickly and without complaint.
Being too stuck in your own ways can lead to a decrease in your value, because the truth is that nothing stays the same. Updates are needed for facilities to stay alive and healthy.
Managing conflict well.
When you work with people who have all different types of feelings, outlooks and life experiences, conflict can happen. And that's a good thing—healthy conflict can lead to fresh ideas. Unfortunately, it can also lead to hurt feelings, tension and team breakdowns unless it's handled the right way.
The most important step in conflict management is to stay calm. You'll probably have emotional reactions, but push those off to a corner of your brain where you can examine them later. Allowing emotions to rule you will only escalate the conflict.
From a calm, objective perspective, start looking at the situation. Instead of fighting back against your combative coworker, ask careful questions to understand their frustrations. Put your own perspective on hold long enough to understand where your coworker is coming from.
Once you understand the other perspective, work on bringing you and your coworker back to stable, peaceful ground. You can do this by engaging in active listening. Nod and show encouragement after their statements and respond with phrases like, “I understand. Can you tell me more?” You can also rephrase their concerns and repeat them, which will make your coworker feel heard.
Once the hot climate has cooled, talk about your own concerns. When you do that, qualify your statements with words of understanding like, “I get where you're coming from, and it makes sense, but here's my perspective on the situation.”
Remember: No matter how frustrating it gets, you and your teammates are on the same side. You're all trying to make sure your office succeeds. It's easy to get into an “Us vs. Them” mindset, but that doesn't help anybody. Not your patients, not your employer and certainly not you.
Do you have these three soft skills? If not, how do you plan on developing them?