Editor's Note

Nov. 14, 2014
We have two rescued dogs. Both are female. They were introduced to our household within 24 hours of each other.

We have two rescued dogs. Both are female. They were introduced to our household within 24 hours of each other. The oldest (according to the vet's estimate) was unceremoniously retired after birthing litters in a puppy mill. The youngest was abandoned in a rural area not far away. Since they arrived at their new "sanctuary" so close together, they probably both feel like the newest member of the family, without any clear territorial claim to stake out.

The youngest one has a nickname, Bamm-Bamm, as in the Flintstones' cartoon character. The nickname surfaces after any sporting event that matches the two dogs in competition with each other. They have various dog toys that they wrestle over, for example.

Bamm-Bamm is a sore loser.Although younger and overall much more athletic, Mona, aka Bamm-Bamm, will find herself losing to the older, wily Ruby. But a certain type of growl and a sudden lunge forward, however, signals that the game is over. Bamm-Bamm then claims her trophy. Invariably, she will pick it up and try to taunt Ruby into another game. Usually, Ruby ignores the invitation for a rematch.

Who likes a sore loser?

As a midstream baby boomer (younger than the Beatles, but older than Jon Bon Jovi), I'm still grounded in some of the unyielding ways that the traditionalists taught. They started with the "live free or die" motto, which was adopted by New Hampshire in 1945, and gave us "I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands" in the 1970s right before the retirement parties for traditionalists started at the Holiday Inn banquet rooms.

Bamm-Bamm will play nice for a while and then you can have the stuffed dog toy when you pry it loose from her cold, dead jaws.

Various concepts have been introduced by Generation Xers and Millennials. Because I have a different background, I have trouble understanding some of them. The interest-based negotiation described by Heidi Munoz (page 14) is a step-by-step process for creating a win-win situation for staff members embroiled in a conflict.

I see the first meeting going something like this.

Hygienists: "For our starting point, we would like to achieve autonomy such as what nurses enjoy in the medical professions."

Dentists: "OK, well, for our starting point, we would like to pay all of you the minimum wage."

Depending on which side of the table I'm sitting on, I am just the type of guy who would throw an oversized book at the other side of the table. Don't even ask what Bamm-Bamm would do.

Despite my humor above, I certainly suggest reading the article by Munoz, since interest-based negotiation works - to the point where it is implemented in noteworthy institutions such as universities. To be clear, it's not about compromising, which the author describes as lose-lose. The interest-based approach is about everyone getting what they want out of the work environment.

Linda Meeuwenberg's article on leadership on page 42 contains a section where she asked via social media about the definition of leadership. The second response in her list was "uniting together for a common goal." You may notice that the "I" in leadership is missing. Togetherness is what leads to leadership.

Although Meeuwenberg devotes most of the article to the single individual who initiates unity in achieving a common goal, she writes, "if you're working as a team toward a common goal, you need to develop a relationship with each team member and gain consensus to move forward to achieve a vision."

She added, "Let's face it; we do not follow people we do not like."

Bamm-Bamm, that means you, sweetheart. We don't like sore losers.

Forbes magazine frequently profiles successful CEOs who cite listening to a wide range of employees as a key to success. I admire the initiative that dental hygienists display when assuming leadership roles. I also fear for them since I am aware of the bullying they face - often by their own peers.

"Be nice, Mona, uh, Bamm-Bamm. Don't be such a sore loser." For the most part, dental professionals excel in being nice to patients. Some of the team-building concepts being exercised now extend niceness to all members of the staff.

Mark Hartley
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