We had a productive partners' meeting this afternoon, I thought. We seem to be getting better at speaking up and saying what is bothering us, even when we know that it won't be well received. In the past I have found it hard to tolerate conflict, and tried to paper over the cracks as fast as they appeared with a torrent of persiflage. I am getting better at letting people express themselves.
This afternoon there was a conflict between the generations. Neil the keen young partner is the only one who usually keeps to time. Because the patients with emergency appointments are pooled at the end of surgery he often finds himself doing the lion's share (or occasionally all) of these. What was just a niggle to begin with has slowly built into a degree of resentment. One of the older partners feels strongly that we should work closely together for the common good and not seek to “work to rule” (the doctor running late must ipso facto have had more demanding patients) and has a growing resentment that Neil tends to leave before all the visits are allocated. I made some remarks which tended to support Neil. Another partner said that they could see both sides of the argument. And the marvellous Martha made some very insightful and soothing comments. In the end we agreed to try allocating the emergency appointments to individual doctors, but also to discuss the visits properly every day.
Even more important than reaching this compromise was the fact that two partners had been able to ventilate their strong feelings on the issues, and that we had all been able to listen to them. It also allowed me to recount one of my favourite aphorisms: if you don't think you are working harder than your partners then you are doing less, if your spouse doesn't think you are working harder than your partners then they are plotting to get rid of you.
Jaw jaw is better than war war.