Why Your Healthcare Team Doesn’t Get Along – Your Practice Ain’t Perfect – Joe Mull


Many practice leaders I work with tell
the same story. Their teams are impacted to one degree or another by infighting,
negativity, clicks, backbiting, gossip, angst. The highly charged environment
that is healthcare means that to an extent, some of these dynamics come with
the territory, but if these issues are pervasive where you work, there are
probably some clear root causes. In this episode of Your Practice Ain’t Perfect,
we’re looking at four reasons your healthcare team doesn’t get along. Here
we go! Okay, number one: You tolerate disrespect.
Not toward you, but toward one another. If managers fail to rein in terse, nasty, or
disrespectful interactions between team members, the whole team suffers. As the
leader, you must establish expectations for how team members will communicate
with one another and then hold them accountable. Insist that members of your
team treat each other with courtesy and respect at all times, on good days and
bad. Make it clear in your words and actions that anything less won’t be
tolerated. Number two: Your team is overworked. At least 75 percent of the
managers I work with tell me that their team is understaffed. Perhaps there’s a
vacancy or several, perhaps the practice has grown but funding for expanding the
team is limited or non-existent. In any case, when team members are pushed to
their limit on a daily basis, they as a TV show famously once said, stop being
polite and start getting real. Stress, fatigue, and pressure – these things remove
our filters. Constantly stressful environments narrow people’s emotions to
a fight-or-flight survival mode. Look at your staffing and make sure you’re not
overestimating what people can reasonably accomplish in their
position, and if your team needs more help, do whatever it takes to get it for
them, and that’s a fight you may have to fight over time. Number three: There’s a
toxic personality. It’s very common that a manager will call me up and say, ‘I’m
having an issue, and I want to see if you can come do some staff training,’ but when
they describe the problems they’re having, I hear about the drama I
described at the top of this video, and I ultimately ask one question: Is there one
person on your team that if they were to leave, these problems would largely go
away, too? Do you know how often the answer is yes? Every time! Every single time. In
such cases, there isn’t a training issue with the team, there’s a performance
management issue. The bad behavior of an employee has not been addressed and has
become cancerous to the team. If a toxic personality is present where you
work, engage in focused, specific, behavioral conversations about what that
person needs to do differently, and if no change occurs, or when no change occurs
take appropriate steps in collaboration with your HR business partners to remove
that person. Last but not least: They don’t know each other. In most work
environments employees spend a lot of time together. If they’re never given the
chance to interact with each other beyond the duties and tasks of their
jobs, they rarely get a glimpse of each other’s humanity. Find ways to create
non-work interaction at work. This is why many teams celebrate birthdays or share
photos and plan staff retreats. When colleagues get to interact as people, it
builds stronger team relationships, and no, happy hour doesn’t count, because not
everybody goes to happy hour. Do these things at work. Now these are not the
only reasons your team may experience conflict, but they’re pretty common. So
now it’s your turn. If you fixed a problem with team conflict, tell me about
it in the comments box below, and if you want to be notified of when new episodes
of Your Practice Ain’t Perfect appear online, go to joemull.com and subscribe
to my email newsletter practice leaders like yourself are getting in their email
inbox. Thanks for watching. Take care.

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