Articles & Experts

Are You a Tigger or an Eeyore at the Office?

Monday, October 01, 2018


Most everyone is familiar with A. A. Milne’s characters from The House on Pooh Corner. Eeyore is always down and depressed, moves and talks very slowly, thinks everything is bad and getting worse, and drags everyone down with him. Tigger, on the other hand, is always the life of the party, he is constantly smiling, moving and talking rapidly, dancing and jumping and bringing everyone’s attitude up a notch. Tigger is fun, fun, fun, fun, fun. If you asked each of your office staff which one of these two characters best describes you, what would they say? Is that the answer you want to hear?

How do you feel when you walk into an office and are greeted by a receptionist with a big smile, a happy face and a cheery attitude? 

How do you feel when you walk into that same office but are greeted by a receptionist who is frowning, grumpy and mean? 

I bet I know which of these receptionists you would choose to greet the patients in your office. 

Your attitude goes a long way toward setting the tone in your office. If you are grumpy, your office staff will be grumpy also. If you are happy and upbeat, you will pull those you come in contact with up with you. So which do you want; an upbeat office or a grumpy office? Which do you have now?

I worked with a physician who alternated between these two personality types. Everyone in his office was on pins and needles each morning waiting to see which personality he would have that day. One day he would walk into the office and be your best friend, shaking hands, patting backs, asking how your family is doing, and the entire office would perk up. The next day he could come in so grumpy that no one wanted to be near him. His attitude in the first two minutes after walking in the door would set the tone of the entire office for the rest of the day.

In a service business, you can’t afford to be an Eeyore. Patients will not want to come back to see you, they will not say good things to their friends who might need your services, they will be more likely to sue you if something goes wrong, and they will not leave you a good online review. OUCH!

Patients love the doctor who is more like Tigger. Tigger rubs off on everyone immediately. Patients are happy to see you, they tell their friends what a great doctor you are and how great your bedside manner is, they send you referrals and when they take the time to write an online review, it will be a good one. People are much more likely to leave Eeyore a bad review, than to leave Tigger a good review. Bad news travels faster.

The office staff feel the same effects. No one wants to work with Eeyore. It’s hard enough to have to put in a long day at work without having to contend with a cranky or gloomy doctor. The things you say and do set the tone for the entire office and that mood lasts the entire day. Tigger is unlikely to be labeled a disruptive physician, as long as he is not bouncing off the ceiling. 

I recently wrote an article about the importance of smiling, how contagious it can be and how it affects everyone nearby. You can read it here:

Smiling causes those around you to smile. It is an instant pick me up. Frowning is also contagious, it will causes others to frown. Test it out. Smile at someone and see if they smile back.

Before you walk into the office next time, stop outside and take a few deep breaths. Let go of all the things that are bothering you and leave them outside. Put a big smile on your face and open the door as Tigger. Your office staff will be so happy you did. Just don’t bounce too high.




Find more helpful information from Dr. Cory S. Fawcett by following his blog at or by reading one of his books in The Doctors Guide Series.