Are You a Battery Drainer or a Battery Charger?

We all have amazing opportunities to be someone’s power bank in any given situation. Sometimes the way that we react to a situation could have been different in hindsight. Perhaps we wish we hadn’t rushed our kids or partner out of the house so quickly. Maybe a colleague is experiencing a difficult day and a little bit of kindness and patience would make all the difference. Perhaps it is our family member, our spouse or our friend who needs a bit of undivided attention, phones away and present. When I step back and truly think about all the interactions I have on a daily basis, I want to be a battery charger.

Powering People

Energy is a critical component to a positive work environment. I’m not talking about having a pep rally before each team meeting, but rather creating positive, high impact interactions that can help to make your team more productive. What builds high value teams is the number of positive people who are on them, leading to frequent positive interactions, and increasing the vibration of the work we do in customer experience. And, you don’t have to be a manager to add value to your team. Anyone can and should be a battery charger at work. When I interview potential team members, I often ask myself, “Are they a battery charger or a battery drainer?” Answering these questions and asking them of your own teams helps to create new dynamics in your workplace unlocking the door to greater successes.

Lighting the Torch of Others

You are always on, and it is easy to forget that staff are always aware of how you are leading and how you are doing. As people leaders, our days can often be busied with stressful tasks and difficult situations. Often when we are stressed or tasked with a deadline, we pass that pressure on to our teams and the people we are leading. As leaders, we must be problem solvers and battery chargers. We have to realize how important even casual interactions with our team members can be and the personal energy that we can restore in them by leading and guiding in a positive way. If we fail to use our positive energy and use our time with our teams for “venting sessions,” that energy will infiltrate the entire team and lead to disengagement in staff and dissatisfaction in our customers.

Leaving the Light on for Staff

In customer experience, empathy is the key to all we do. And it begins with each one of us. We have to start understanding that great customer experience begins with a great employee experience. It’s important to not just make positive changes in health equity in our communities, but also in the health equity of our own employees. Understanding that our own staff may be experiencing housing insecurity, food insecurity, transportation issues, domestic violence, or caregiving for either children or aging parents can all impact the employee experience at work.

In a prior role, I oversaw a busy call center, filled with young people just beginning their careers. I had noticed that one of my team members seemed upset more often than usual and her personality had suddenly changed from her normal upbeat self. As she took calls for members helping them navigate issues with food insecurity and housing insecurity, she was navigating the same issues whenever she clocked out and went home. She was struggling to pay some of her basic bills and was being faced with eviction. This was a particularly delicate conversation to navigate. I started with, “I wanted to let you know that my door is always open if I can help you in anyway because I see the potential in you and want you to feel good about the job that you’re doing.”

She shared some of the issues that were suddenly spilling over into her professional life and affecting her work. Luckily, we had a great EAP that helped employees with these types of situations and even had a fund that helped employees with short-term housing expenses. Had I not taken a moment to step back and seek to understand rather than judge or rush to a conclusion, I may not have considered the situation she was navigating.

In the end, whether our customer is a member, provider, patient, community partners or a fellow colleague, great customer service starts in the care and connection that we provide to our own team members. Being empathetic can truly make a difference to someone. After all, sometimes all you need is someone to offer you their power bank.

Kat is a seasoned healthcare leader, public speaker, and board advisor with a passion for people. Kat leads the organization in its voice of the customer program and customer experience strategy, as well as programs for employee mentorship and engagement. With more than 20 years of experience in healthcare and contact centers, Kat is passionate about creating high-touch, unforgettable experiences for customers and employees alike.


Kat will be presenting an Executive Bulletin – 3 Key Strategies You Can Deploy Today to Improve Your Employee Experience and Retention at the 20th Anniversary Customer Contact East: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, 4/7-4/10 at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa, Fort Lauderdale.