In our whirlwind, interconnected world, the art of navigating the intricate tapestry of human emotions is more critical than ever. Emotional intelligence (EI) and empathy stand out as beacons, guiding us to forge positive relationships, enhance leadership, and create a harmonious work environment.


Picture this: you’re caught in a recurring conversation with a coworker. They’re trapped in a whirlpool of frustration and despair over a repeating issue, blind to the fact that they are the common thread in these situations. There you are, offering a listening ear to a tale that’s turning from familiar to tiresome.

You value this coworker and the bond you share, but this repetitive cycle is starting to fray the edges of your patience. The solution seems to shimmer so clearly before you – a minor tweak in their behavior could sweep away mountains of stress. Yet, despite your repeated advice, they seem ensnared in their patterns, unready or unwilling to grasp the lifeline you offer.

Realizing that you can’t repaint their behavioral patterns, how do you preserve the warmth of this relationship? Must it be a never-ending cycle until professional paths diverge?

It doesn’t have to be. This is your moment to flex your empathy muscles.

Understanding Empathy:

Empathy, a cornerstone of emotional intelligence, is the art of walking in another’s shoes, feeling the contours of their experiences. It’s not just about offering sympathy; it’s about genuinely connecting with and understanding others’ emotions. Empathy is a dance of two steps: cognitive empathy, understanding someone’s perspective, and emotional empathy, feeling what they feel.

Empathetic individuals are like emotional detectives, adept at deciphering and resonating with the feelings of others, laying the groundwork for deep, meaningful connections. This trait is invaluable in all relationships, paving the way for mutual understanding, trust, and collaboration.

The Link Between Emotional Intelligence and Empathy:

Though distinct, emotional intelligence and empathy are intertwined like strands of a DNA helix. Emotional intelligence is the bedrock of understanding and managing one’s emotions, with empathy extending this understanding to others. A person rich in emotional intelligence naturally exudes empathy, armed with the self-awareness and social skills to forge profound connections.

In the workplace, leaders who blend emotional intelligence with empathy excel in sculpting robust, unified teams. They are maestros who understand the diverse emotional landscapes of their team, cultivating a positive, inclusive atmosphere. This harmony not only boosts morale but also sparks productivity and creativity.

dart board with bulls eye

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence and Empathy:

  1. Improved Communication: Those with a rich tapestry of emotional intelligence are maestros in communication. They not only articulate their own thoughts and emotions with clarity but are also attuned to the unspoken languages of others. This dual awareness leads to conversations that are not just heard, but deeply understood.
  2. Conflict Resolution: Understanding and managing emotions are pivotal in diffusing conflicts. Emotionally intelligent individuals navigate disagreements with grace, seeking solutions that are not just compromises, but triumphs for all involved.
  3. Enhanced Leadership: Leaders adorned with emotional intelligence and empathy are like lighthouses, guiding their teams with authenticity and trust. Their empathetic approach fosters a culture of positivity and inclusion, resonating throughout the organization.
  4. Building Strong Relationships: In both personal and professional realms, emotional intelligence and empathy are the golden threads that weave strong, enduring relationships. This emotional connection cultivates trust, loyalty, and mutual support, fortifying bonds that withstand the test of time.

To conclude, emotional intelligence and empathy are not just skills, but essential life tools for navigating the complex web of human relationships. As our world grows ever more interconnected, our ability to understand and connect with others emotionally is not just beneficial, but imperative for personal and professional growth. By nurturing emotional intelligence, we not only sharpen our self-awareness and self-regulation but also kindle empathetic connections that enrich our lives and the lives around us. Embracing the transformative power of emotional intelligence and empathy, we pave the way for a more compassionate, harmonious society.

Jade Bodzasy

Jade Bodzasy

Jade Bodzasy, Founder of Emotional Intelligence Consulting Inc., is a dedicated Coach and Consultant for Optometric Practices. Her extensive background includes over 20,000 hours of expertise focused on customer relations, work structure refinement, training method development, and fostering improved work culture within Optometric practices.

Certified in Rational Emotive Behavior Techniques (REBT), Jade possesses a unique skillset that empowers individuals to gain profound insights into the origins of their behaviors, as well as those of others. Leveraging her certification, she equips optometry practices with invaluable resources and expert guidance to establish and sustain a positive, healthful, and productive work environment.


0 / 5. 0

Gone are the days when employers could decree when and how employees work. Employees control the narrative now. They demand more, they have higher expectations and when their needs aren’t met, they don’t roll over complacently. They change things. How does this dynamic play out in your practice?  

Changes in today’s workforce world are all employee-driven. While plenty of companies are jumping on board and meeting their employees in the arena as part of their team some are choosing to be on the opposing team.

This is not a fight that you want to lose, it will be violent and catastrophic.

Quiet Quitting and Burnout
If you are on any social platform, you’ve probably seen “Quiet Quitting” trending recently.

Suddenly, it seems everyone is talking about it. Quiet quitting isn’t about employees leaving their jobs; it’s about them setting boundaries to prevent burnout or reclaim their lives. This is often done as a response to being expected to work longer hours and take on more work.

Employees are tired. They are fighting back against employers who expect them to do more. Some employers may think this is unfair pressure or underhanded tactics as they face a hiring crisis of epic proportions at a time they are short on staff.

However, loading your current employees up with more work may make your situation worse. You may cause even more employees to leave while gaining a reputation for overworking your staff.

Work-Life Balance, or Life-Work Balance?
Instead of fighting your employees tooth and nail, consider what they are asking for, and how providing them with the balance and the boundaries they crave could boost productivity and be beneficial to your organization.

You may be used to having employees who dedicate themselves to long hours and spend time socially with colleagues outside work hours but that has all changed. And in hindsight, was their work truly better?

The pandemic shifted at a foundational level how people view work as part of their lives, and it isn’t about work-life balance anymore, where ‘work’ takes pride of place. Instead, people are turning to life-work balance, re-imagining and re-engineering how work fits around their lives rather than their lives fitting around their work.

With the state of the labour market right now, with demand far outstripping supply, employees have the power to do this. Across North America right now, there are more than 12 million jobs that need to be filled. It’s a seller’s market and if an employee feels like their boundaries are not respected, they will simply choose to take their talents elsewhere.

Like all of us, they want to spend time with family and friends, improve their physical and mental health, and lead balanced lives where they can very happily work hard in the allotted time, and then move on to other things, guilt-free.

If they cannot do that while working at your company, they’ll be out the door faster than you can say “but…”.

Working With Employees
Those of us who are of a certain age may still hear our fathers’ voice ringing in our ears: “you should damn well be happy to have a job. You don’t have to love it. Suck it up and get on with it”.

That was a common paradigm a generation ago. One that, for better or worse, has gone the way of the dinosaur.

It’s time for a new paradigm to emerge, one where the power is no longer master-servant, but more balanced. When someone feels an affinity with their role because it fits them, where they feel respected and where they can contribute satisfyingly, they will naturally be much happier, more engaged, and more productive during working hours. This results in higher quality work, a better work environment, and overall better engagement among employees.

Engaged employees with set boundaries don’t need to work extra overtime hours to get things done because they can complete their work during working hours.  

By respecting boundaries and allowing your team members to manage life-work balance, you create the kind of environment more people want to work in. Your associates feel respected and satisfied, their quality of work reflects this, and you get the reputation of a great employer. Suddenly something that started as a scary trend doesn’t seem so bad.

This post is sponsored by and Fit First Technologies

Learn more.


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


0 / 5. 0

Fact or Fiction?
Not everyone needs to be a top performer. We need some ‘steady Eddies’ or we’ll spend all our time trying to satisfy everyone’s career expectations.

Don’t confuse performance with pressure to offer promotion opportunities.

Many people who are at the absolute top of their class want nothing more than to be left alone to do what they do best, day in and day out. Top performers are top performers because they love what they do, and they do it exceptionally well.

All too often we convince ourselves that it’s okay to have a normal performance curve where 70% of the workforce is just ‘average’. We too easily accept the notion that average is okay and doesn’t hurt our practice.

The truth is average is awful.  Average in most organizations represents an opportunity cost of 23% or more of payroll – money that gets paid out with zero return.

In most organizations, and eye care practices are likely no different, 23% of payroll represents a substantial sum of money that if used elsewhere in the business could materially improve the practice.

The most valuable competitive advantage for any business is to staff with star employees who perform better and stay longer.

That’s the Fit First philosophy.

Fit First Philosophy starts with this premise. Hire for Fit, and then train as needed.
Save yourself time and money.

This post is sponsored by and Fit First Technologies

Learn more.


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


0 / 5. 0

Fact or Fiction? Investing in employee satisfaction makes good business sense.
Sounds reasonable, right?

Many organizations believe that satisfied employees are profitable employees, so they invest heavily in things they think will show appreciation – elaborate cafeterias, games rooms, group outings, on-site concierge services, and other generous perks. That’s pretty sweet, for the employees.

These companies will spend exceptional amounts of money continuously surveying “employee satisfaction” and then ponder over the results to discover new ways to enhance it.

But, Where’s the Proof?
Surprise: The truth is, there is no documented relationship between employee satisfaction and business performance. A happy workforce is not necessarily a more productive one.

The factor that is a predictor of performance and productivity, and it is in fact the most reliable predictor, is something called engagement.

Engagement is all about how focused and committed your people are to hitting and exceeding your shared objectives.  e.g. How much sweat, effort, and creativity they are willing to put in of their own free will.

The best part is that engagement doesn’t cost you, the practice owner, much. But you must set the stage for it by paying attention to the leading indicators of fit.

The formula is simple in theory.  Find employees that fit the job, fit the practice values and fit and other members of the team, and, you will have a committed and engaged staff that is more productive and profitable for your practice.

The most valuable competitive advantage for any business is to staff with star employees who perform better and stay longer.

That’s the Fit First philosophy.

Fit First Philosophy starts with this premise. Hire for Fit, and then train as needed.
Save yourself time and money.
This post is sponsored by and Fit First Technologies

Learn more.


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


0 / 5. 0

Fact or Fiction? Low turnover is a good sign we’re doing things well. Why rock the boat?

Low turnover can seem like an employer’s dream, but is it hurting your business in the long run?

The important question here is – how many people are we keeping?
The far more valuable question is – what is the quality of the people we are keeping?

All too often, organizations, including professional practices, find themselves in a rut where people aren’t leaving because they are comfortable. And they are comfortable because their job is easy, standards are lax, and mediocre performance is tolerated.

Comfortable employees can choke a business.

If you raise your standards, you will scare off those who crave comfort and attract better performers who share those same higher standards.

The Wrong Kind of Turnover
If you maintain the status-quo, you may well have turnover, but not of the right kind. Those leaving may well be the ones that thrive on a challenge and take price in being on a high performing team.

The most valuable competitive advantage for any business is to staff with star employees who perform better and stay longer.

That’s the Fit First philosophy.

Fit First Philosophy starts with this premise. Hire for Fit, and then train as needed.
Save yourself time and money.
This post is sponsored by and Fit First Technologies

Learn more.


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


0 / 5. 0

people management

Even before COVID, independent Optometrists shared a common complaint. How do you see patients all day as well as manage staff and the business demands of the practice? The answer is often an Office Manager. Even with a small team, it is important that someone is leading the ship when the Owner is seeing patients.

How’s Right for the Job?
For many offices, the Office Manager can be someone who has shown interest in managing tasks and taking on a bigger role within the office. It is also possible to hire someone with an affinity for office management but doesn’t have optical experience.

I have seen some wonderful Office Managers come from other backgrounds and bring new insight and perspective to the practices they work in.

Ultimately, the main responsibility of the Office Manager is to be the contact person for staff and patients, in your absence. It is imperative that they have a consistent and direct line to you on a regular basis. The staff will be accountable to the Office Manager and the Office Manager will be accountable to you.

A great office  manager can fill the gaps.
Just recently, a client mentioned that their associate’s appointment book was starting to look sparse in the week or two ahead.

They were looking for some guidance on how to approach staff. This is the perfect example of how an Office Manager could be of great assistance. In charge of overseeing the general business functioning of the clinic, the Office Manager will have independently identified this concern. The Office Manager will “huddle” will staff and brain storm action steps to get the appointments booked.

Often, when I am speaking to Office Managers, or even Practice Owners, they will express a concern about micromanaging the team. In fact, teams need managing – and even inspiring!

Recently, when mentoring a teammate in one office to become the Office Manager, we reviewed the action steps the team had already taken – getting caught up on recalls being the big one – and it appeared the team was being proactive. I asked if the team was also asking if there were other members in the household that were due for an eye exam that wanted to come in at the same time.

Particularly during COVID, it actually benefits the family and clinic if they come into the office at once and in their bubble. The future Office Manager graciously acknowledged that although they had done so in the past, they had stopped asking this question when patients were booking.

Now armed with a suggestion that could bring fresh perspective to the situation, the future Office Manager left our call to meet with her team to brainstorm ideas to get the schedule booked! I challenged her to do a similar exercise with the front desk staff in the spirit of unearthing ideas that had simply fallen off their radar.

This type of mentorship and coaching is necessary to transfer authority to the Office Manager, so that ultimately, the Office Manager can start independently assessing the business needs and acting accordingly. It takes some time and guidance, but the end result is well worth the effort.


is the co-founder and managing partner of Simple Innovative Management Ideas (SIMI) Inc. and expert Practice Management contributor for Optik magazine. She can be reached at


0 / 5. 0

Failure to deliver the best care and services because one person is out sick is not acceptable. It is costly to your practice, and avoidable through cross-training. Our four-OD, 19-support staff practice, which delivers over 6,000 exams per year, has found cross-training to be an effective way of ensuring consistent care.

In addition to consistency of care, cross-training also has allowed us to provide staff with opportunities to grow in our practice. Sometimes we find a staff member has a great desire to learn something new, and occasionally, we may find a staff member has a strength that we didn’t realize until they performed another task in our office.

The staff of Miamisburg Vision Care delivers consistent care to patients, thanks to cross-training. Each is trained in a primary task and at least one secondary task. There is no disruption to patient service and flow when a staff member is out sick or on vacation

Along with the benefits to our patients, cross-training helps us keep our staff happy, as they feel more valuable, and experience joy when they find something new they can become an expert in.


In deciding what tasks to cross train, we first reviewed the areas where we already had challenges throughout our day, but also looked at situations in which the variables can’t be controlled, such as when patients come in late causing a bottleneck in pre-testing.

In those situations, having an additional staff member who can step in and do pre-testing is beneficial. Or having another employee who can pinch hit in the optical when the opticians are backlogged can mean the difference between making and missing a sale.

As another example, it would be great to have everyone trained in all areas, but working with the billing, and reconciling an EOP, is not critical to patient care. So, be sure to prioritize in cross-training areas that most impact patient care, or those that patients perceive to be something that should not include significant waiting, like scheduling an exam or picking up contact lenses.

It is important to continually expose your staff to the secondary tasks you would like them to perform, so the skills stay fresh in their minds.

Our personnel manager is responsible for setting the schedule to ensure each staff member is placed in both their primary and secondary tasks throughout the upcoming week. We always have in place a back-up for key tasks in case an employee is absent. After the daily schedule for primary roles is determined for the upcoming week, we then decide who the back-up employee will be for each of the key roles in the office for each day. It’s like having an under-study at all times for each essential role in the office.


It can be challenging when an employee finds their primary task is not what they want to do, and they would rather perform their newly learned task. We prevent this from happening by having a clear conversation with the staff member to set expectations and the purpose for learning the new task.

For instance, we told an employee, who was a scribe and pre-tester, that we needed her to learn contact lenses since one of our contact lens technicians was going on maternity leave. We clearly indicated that she would be working as a scribe, and that was her primary role, but we also were having her learn contacts to ensure we could maintain consistency in patient care for contacts. The other thing we did was to provide scheduling to allow her to work in both roles once the contact lens technician came back from maternity. She was thrilled to be able to work in both roles, and this allowed our practice to maintain the excellent care without the patient suffering or waiting because we couldn’t handle their needs.


The importance of cross-training is it ensures there is no change in the care you provide every patient, regardless of who is sick or on vacation.

Staff should always have, at a minimum, a primary task with a secondary task, and possibly other tasks they learn well enough to perform when necessary. What If only one person can take retinal photos, or run ancillary tests, such as a visual field? At the worst moment when a field is needed for patient care, you can be stuck making the patient wait while performing the task yourself. Or what if somebody decides they want to try contact lenses, and needs training, but your primary trainer is gone? It is much better to be able to help the patient right then versus having them come back. This works for all areas, like dispensing glasses or contacts, scheduling patients, or patient pre-testing.


The time needed for cross-training varies, but can be done in many ways. A big thing I do in my office is include training during our weekly meetings. This generally means we break up into groups and the person who has the best knowledge of a primary task will teach someone the task as their secondary responsibility.

We also make sure that whenever an employee is not needed for their primary task, they shadow the employee doing their secondary task. For example, an employee who normally performs contact lens training may follow the visual field tester if there are no fits being done at that time.

There also is continued training during the course of a typical day by the personnel manager in my office, on-the-job, as the need arises.



Partner Miamisburg Vision Care, Miamisburg, Ohio

Dave Anderson, OD, is a partner withMiamisburg Vision Care in Miamisburg, Ohio. To contact:


0 / 5. 0

If you’re lucky, all of your employees are star performers. If you’re somewhat lucky, at least a few are. You may not be the only one who knows how good they are. Former employers, or others, may try hiring them out from under you.

You can hold onto a valued employee–if you have an employee-retention strategy in place, and move quickly. That strategy should include a discussion of  benefits and the expression of how much you appreciate the employee. Sometimes it’s not just about money; it’s about being appreciated, challenged and empowered.

Renegotiate & Motivate with Pay & Long-Term Growth
The first employee whom I almost lost was contacted by a previous employer. She had wanted to work for me because that former employer had under-paid her and treated her poorly. After I hired the employee, I expanded her skill-set, increasing her value both to me, and, as it turns out, others. I paid the employee to match the additional skills she acquired.

The previous office got in touch with the employee, and tried to outbid her current pay rate to get her back into their office. The employee brought this offer to me, and wanted to discuss it, because she said she would rather stay in my office. We negotiated a higher pay rate, thereby keeping her on staff.

Another employee was approached by a recruiter for an internet start-up company (not optically related). She was offered an entry-level position with full benefits. She also brought the offer to me to discuss. After discussing her future goals, we created a plan to move her into an office manager position, in which she has been fantastic.

The last employee was contacted by a headhunter hired by another group practice in the area. They contacted my optician and tried to hire her away with more money. Again, my employee came to me with the offer, and wanted to discuss it. However, there was  bait-and-switch to their offer, in which the final offer turned out to be disappointing, and ultimately, I was able to increase the employee’s pay to maintain her employment.

It Can Be Less Costly Over Time to Raise Pay & Retain
I recommend that you pay valued employees fairly, and even generously, and that you increase their pay if they receive a higher offer from another business.

Finding new staff is time-consuming and frustrating. It slows down work flow, and increases the potential for conflict, with the new employees you add not necessarily gelling as well with your other employees.

If an employee brings value to your office, you should value them in return by offering pay that reflects the revenues and contribution to patient care and service that they deliver. A great optometrist once told me: “Hire slow, fire fast.” I’ve carried that adage with me throughout my career, and it’s always been advice that I wish I had followed better.

Prevent Poaching Attempts With Generous Benefits
I learned that it is of paramount importance that you work toward offering a full panel of benefits to employees (401K matching program, insurance matching, profit sharing). It’s important to remember that the talented people you hire, and profit from, have many other opportunities in the job market. Your pay and benefits package needs to reflect that you understand that they can go elsewhere.

Create an Open-Door/Open-Dialog Culture
I never would have gotten the chance to keep my employees from leaving if they hadn’t felt comfortable enough with me to directly discuss the offers they had received.

If these employees hadn’t felt they were able to talk to me as both a respected friend, as well as an employer, they may not have felt secure enough to discuss with me. You always want to maintain a professional air with employees, but you never want them to feel that you are an authority figure they can’t share work-related struggles and aspirations with. When an employee joins the practice, it’s helpful to emphasize that you welcome ongoing conversations about their feelings working for your practice, and that you want to hear any suggestions they could offer on how you could help them do their job better, or be more happy at work.

It also helps to demonstrate in all your interactions with employees that you are the type of boss who has the patience to listen silently and then discuss in a helpful, how-about-this manner, rather than moving immediately into argument-and-debate mode. The productive, pleasant conversations my employees have had with me over the years led them to feel secure that if they explained the offers they had received, I could discuss it with them in a non-confrontational, non-argumentative, manner, and that I could even be helpful to them.

With that framework of trust laid, I was able to amicably talk through the offers they had received, and point out inconsistencies and downsides.

I learned that recruiters can be deceptive in their offers, or at least what they make their offers sound like. The headhunter who tried to snag my optician quoted crazy-high numbers initially, and then when my optician spoke with her potential new employer’s office manager about pay and benefits, she got a totally different story. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Set Goals With Employees: Show Them Long-Term Picture
It is helpful to set goals for employees, so they have something they are working toward. Rather than focusing solely on performance reviews, I like to talk in terms of goal-setting. It’s nice to have something to strive for, and look forward to.

For example, you might find that a back-office employee is interested in learning about opticianry, and eventually would like to move into a sales role, or you may find that an optician would like to transition to a supervisory role, such as office manager. It’s important to not just note the state of an employee’s work performance, but what their dream position in the practice would be, if it’s not the one they currently have.

I have set out goals for certain employees to move into management positions. They are aware of this, and it gives them something exciting to work toward.

Offer Help Achieving Certifications
Growth opportunities are only available commensurate with the growth of the practice. Until your practice gets to a certain size you may not be able to offer much growth other than financially. Certifications are a great way to motivate staff, and to offer more money for completion. I offer to reimburse staff for certification costs but only if they pass their testing. They are to pay for it upfront, and then will get reimbursed with an extra bonus once they show proof of passing.

Observe Level of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is easy to observe–as long as you are paying attention to your practice. The practice owners who shift into cruise control, and act like bystanders, are the ones who won’t notice disengagement until it’s too late, and the best employees have left.

I like to explore new ways of improving our office, and I take a proactive role in discussing my ideas with staff, and hearing their ideas. We have weekly office meetings in which I have employees engage in learning activities and discussions.

I buy lunch for the whole staff during our weekly meetings, and we discuss challenges and examples of work well done from the previous week, along with new work systems we could implement, technologies we could be using better, and technology we may want to add to the office. Everyone is encouraged to speak freely with any idea they may have.

Encourage Learning Experiences Inside & Outside Your Office
I encourage shadowing to learn more about our profession in the offices of other healthcare practices we co-manage with and send patients to for consults. Employees whose minds are kept engaged with new information and experiences are less likely to become bored and restless. Encouraging employees to shadow in offices, such as that of eye surgeons, also benefits your own practice and patients, with employees able to better educate patients in what to expect when sent for a procedure like cataract surgery.



is a certified optometric glaucoma specialist and therapeutic optometrist, and owner of Lone Star Eye, in Austin, Texas. To contact him:


0 / 5. 0