Creating a Positive and Cooperative Work Environment

Originally published on www.lmshealthpro.com.  By Kristen Brady

In healthcare, cooperation is critical in order for patients to receive the best care possible. Although relationships between healthcare providers is normally positive, there are times when those relationships may be tense. There are many reasons why group dynamics in healthcare settings may seem off-balance and less than cooperative. In most cases, it is simply because one group in a healthcare setting is not aware of the difficulties faced by another. A doctor may not understand the day-to-day difficulties the nursing staff deals with while the nursing staff may not understand the difficulties of the dietary staff. It is up to those at the management level to address these group dynamics and create a positive working environment in order to provide patients with the best possible care available.

Intergroup Dynamics

The first step in determining the best way to promote a positive working environment in healthcare is to understand intergroup dynamics. Social identity plays a part in how groups work together. Research has shown that people derive self-esteem from the social groups they identify most with. In addition, identification with a particular group facilitates consistent behavior among group members. Because it is instinct for people to compare their own group more favorably than others, it is not unusual for healthcare groups to see their own issues as more complex than others and value that group’s contributions over others. Socialization can also be a factor in how groups relate to each other in healthcare. Because healthcare workers are trained somewhat differently, they may have difficulty understanding the requirements of other groups. Nurses are socialized into the nursing role in a healthcare setting while radiologists are socialized into a different role. This can cause difficulty in cross-socialization.

Improving Group Dynamics
There are ways that management can improve group dynamics and create a more positive atmosphere. It is important to note that communication problems among staff are often the symptom of an underlying problem. One option to address group dynamic and communication problems is through cross-discipline training. During cross-discipline training, nurses are taught methods for raising concerns with doctors who may have a tendency to ignore those concerns. Doctors are given listening skillsets that allow them to not only hear when a nurse expresses concerns, but address those concerns in a timely manner.

Understanding Boundaries
It is important to remember that, in the healthcare setting, groups may work together as a team, but each group has their own tasks that must be carried out. Group dynamics in healthcare work when all members of each group understand that they are working toward the shared purpose of treating patients. Although this may seem obvious, it is sometimes so obvious it is overlooked. Management should encourage group leaders to keep the purpose at the forefront during all interactions by talking about how each group links together to achieve the goal of providing excellent healthcare to each patient. Creating an understanding between groups of how important their contributions are to the benefit of patients is critical in developing a more cooperative workplace.

 

Create a Plan

 

In order to have a cohesive, cooperative and positive workplace, management must have a plan, a strategy that is designed to promote patient service. The strategy should include elements that have been proven to show success in team building. The strategy should address tasks that must be performed by each group during patient care. Most organizations understand how to document services needed and performed during patient care, but including those services as part of a strategic plan can make healthcare operations run much more smoothly. One of the most important elements that must be included in a strategic plan is the needs of each individual within the healthcare facility. Many healthcare organizations use annual appraisals to reinforce employee behavior, but this may not be enough. People need their efforts acknowledged. They want their triumphs recognized and their struggles addressed. People need positive feedback when they perform well and constructive feedback when they should improve. Finally, team leadership needs to be part of the strategy. Conflict management, group dynamic training and diversity is critical to the success of any healthcare organization strategic plan.

Conflict Resolution
How an organization handles conflict among staff members can demonstrate how cohesive and positive the workplace is. Conflict does not always manifest itself the same way throughout an organization. There are five identified styles of conflict management. Someone who is accommodating attempts to preserve harmony at all costs and may appear week or ineffective. Compromise is often a good way to resolve conflict, but this can lead to a reduction in patient care as staff feel as if they must make too many concessions to keep others happy. Avoidance describes those who will avoid conflict at all times. Many times, people who avoid conflict jeopardize patient care as they back down when someone of authority disagrees. Often this is combined with competition when someone of a higher rank forces an issue to resolution, even if that resolution is incorrect. The best type of conflict resolution is collaboration. This requires communication and discussion to come to a mutually agreeable solution such as an issue of patient safety that stretches resources. However, collaboration can be overused and management may spend significant time in lengthy discussions about trivial matters.

Negotiation
One of the best solutions to conflict is negotiation. Although it is similar to collaboration, negotiation allows each party to share their own needs and wants when it comes to patient care. It allows each person to voice concerns and make suggestions for how to resolve the dispute. It also allows power to be removed from the equation as most conflicts are more about power than the actual issue. This is especially true in a healthcare setting with its many different layers of responsibility. Negotiation also allows those involved in the conflict to develop their own solutions rather than involve management in every disagreement. In negotiation, no one “wins” and no one “loses,” so the patient benefits from increased levels of care.

Benefits of Conflict
Conflict in the healthcare setting is not without benefits. Conflict brings awareness to problems that may exist and can initiate organizational change. Successful management of conflict can improve morale and strengthen relationships among healthcare professionals. Failing to manage conflict, however, can have detrimental effects on an organization. There could be an atmosphere of misperceptions and bias with coworkers polarized due to unmanaged conflict. Issues may become blurred as the conflict moves away from the actual issue and differences could become magnified. Unmanaged conflict lowers morale, increases employee turnover and can damage meaningful professional relationships.

Interest-Based Bargaining
People develop their understanding of situations based on their experiences, background, education and situational specifics. These factors often create beliefs or positions on certain situations. Yet, when we want something, it is our interest that helps us achieve what we want. When we understand someone else’s interests, we often recognize ourselves in that person. Interest-based bargaining is can be used in negotiation as a way to address what creates one person’s desires. It allows the conflicting parties to step into each other’s shoes and develop an understanding of what motivates them to do what they do. It also allows each person to understand the other person’s values, something that is often at the core of conflict as they are hard to articulate. Helping staff develop the tools necessary to understand values and motivation can be an excellent way to manage conflict in a positive manner.

In the healthcare industry, the patient’s needs must come first. People who enter the field of healthcare do so because they want to help those who are sick or injured which is why it would seem obvious that the ultimate goal is to provide excellent patient service in a healthcare setting. Unfortunately, because group dynamics exist in all industries, especially in healthcare, conflict can arise between different groups as well as between individuals within each group. In order to fully address patient needs, management in a healthcare setting must address conflict resolution and group dynamics throughout their organization. With proper training, education and resources, healthcare staff can develop the skills necessary to work well together and manage conflict in the most positive way possible.

 

Leading Management Solutions helps medical practice leaders identify ways to improve operations to increase revenue, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. Learn more about us at www.lmshealthpro.com.

About the Author:

Kristen Brady is the founder and owner of Kaboom Social Media, your social media marketing and content specialists! Follow her on Twitter: @kb54927

 

Different Leadership Styles in the Workplace

Originally posted on January 24, 2017 at www.lmshealthpro.com.
By Anita Haridat, Ph. D

Previously, we have learned about various learning styles and the different personality traits that are often correlated with those styles. However, what about your leadership styles? While there are both advantages and disadvantages that may exist among each category, the goals and the overall culture may determine the best factors to take into consideration. Here are the most common styles of leadership:

Laissez- Faire

For leaders who follow laissez-faire, there is a lack of supervision that is granted to employees. With this “hands off” approach, while there are some people who thrive in an environment where they do not have to answer to others, this may hinder business processes if there is no supervision efforts created. Examples of Laissez-Faire leaders include Steve Jobs, Ronald Reagan and Warren Buffet.

Pros: If team members are highly skilled, there is an ability to have an increase in passion along with intrinsic motivation.

Cons: Poorly defined roles, limited sense of cohesiveness

Personality traits that pertain to Laissez-Faire leadership: open to new experiences, extraverted, agreeable

Democratic or Participative

With this leadership style, there is an ability for team members to give their opinions in a proper manner, but there are also applicable leaders who make the final decisions. This type of leadership is beneficial because there is a strong chance to boost the morale of employees since their beliefs actually matter. Furthermore, if there are changes that should be made within a business, the leadership takes the time to assist the employees by implementing applicable protocols. Examples of democratic/participative leaders include the following: John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln.

Pros: Most businesses can adhere to democratic/participative tactics, promotes creativity, helps to build strong teams

Cons: Time consuming to process ideas

Personality traits that pertain to Democratic/Participative leadership: agreeable, extraverted

Autocratic

This type of leadership is also known as authoritarian. One individual tends to have complete control over a business or an organization and there tends to be very limited input from the other employees. The decisions are often made based on the ideas and the different parameters that have been researched by the leader. In essence, there is complete control over the team members. Examples of autocratic leaders include: Genghis Khan and Queen Elizabeth I

Pros: decisions can be made in a rapid manner, employees have the ability to focus solely on the tasks that they have been designated, organization levels are high

Cons: Limited sense of motivation within the environment, limited morale, sense of dissatisfaction

Personality traits that pertain to autocratic leadership: neurotic and conscientious

 

Leading Management Solutions helps medical practice leaders identify ways to improve operations to increase revenue, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. Learn more about us at www.lmshealthpro.com.

About the Author:

Anita Haridat has her Ph.D in healthcare/business administration and her master’s degree in clinical nutrition. She has several publications in sources such as EGO Magazine, Natural Awakenings Magazine, Syosset Patch, Our USA Magazine and many more. Her passion for health and wellness has created multiple stepping stones for paving the way of creating a positive well being. Her first book can be found here:

A Ph.D Takes Your B.S to a Whole New Level: Survive Grad School with the Right Mentality

Various Learning Styles and Personality Types

Originally published on January 21, 2017 at www.lmshealthpro.com.
By Anita Haridat, Ph.D.

Within any work environment, there is a need to understand that many personality types exist in which people tend to be acclimated to. Furthermore, that personality type may be correlated with certain learning styles as well.
According to the five-factor model (FFM), there are five significant personality traits based on implications of human experience. They are as follows:

Open to New Experiences

If you possess this type of personality trait, there is a strong chance that you are a visual learner. There is an appreciation for adventure, curiosity and even art in some instances. When a person is open to new ideas, this tends to reflect a strong degree of intellect along with imaginative tendencies. However, if there is too much openness, this can be depicted as having a lack of focus along with some level of unpredictability.
Best way to communicate with employees: Keep an open mind and develop clear communication channels among each person that you work with. When this is done, each person will feel appreciated.

Conscientious

This type of personality trait involves an efficient person who has a strong tendency to be organized. When it comes to learning style, there is a chance that visuals are reflected, however, this person may also prefer reading and writing since there is an ability to reflect on information within his or her own time frame. In most cases, these learners tend to be avid readers and they have the ability to present themselves through a reserved, but intellectual demeanor.
Best way to communicate with employees: Maintain your strong organization skills, but do not be afraid to open up to your employees if there are new ideas that can be implemented. Maintain a strong stance and be confident in your abilities!

Extraverted

This person tends to have very high energy along with positive emotions which can impact many people. The learning style that best reflects this personality trait can be visual, auditory or kinesthetic depending on the situation. For those who are very outgoing, they may prefer listening or viewing images, but there are also many people who would rather have hands on experience when learning about specific topics. In some cases, there are times when extraversion may come off as attention seeking, but there is a chance that simulation within an organization is possible as long as positive factors are reflected.
Best way to communicate with employees: Keep in mind that not everyone is a fan of high energy! Consider the impact of your actions, but do not lose your excitement.

Agreeable

This personality trait is similar to the one discussed previously, however the energy levels are toned down slightly. Instead, a person who is agreeable has the tendency to be very friendly and there is a sense of trustworthiness as well. The learning style that best fits this trait is auditory since there is a chance to listen to others and even speak if necessary. Moreover, repetition through the use of mnemonic devices can be used as well which can be very helpful.
Best way to communicate with employees: Consider different perspectives within the work environment and if there are new ideas that can be implemented, do not be afraid to state your mind in a professional manner.

Neurotic

With this personality trait, a person tends to be nervous and even sensitive during many situations. Unpleasant emotions tend to be derived in an easy manner and there is a chance of increased anger and anxiety compared to many other people that he or she is surrounded by. The learning style that can best reflect this personality trait is reading and writing since there is a chance to control the parameters that are being presented. Unfortunately, when a person has this type of personality trait, they may come off as unstable which can be detrimental for a work environment.
Best way to communicate with employees: Listen to each person carefully, but be honest and clear about the different parameters that may be taking place within the environment. Sometimes, it is best to take a step back and trust your colleagues while implementing your own input as well.
Which personality and learning style best suits you? How do you cope with others with different traits?

Leading Management Solutions helps medical practice leaders identify ways to improve operations to increase revenue, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. Learn more about us at www.lmshealthpro.com.

About the Author:

Anita Haridat has her Ph.D in healthcare/business administration and her master’s degree in clinical nutrition. She has several publications in sources such as EGO Magazine, Natural Awakenings Magazine, Syosset Patch, Our USA Magazine and many more. Her passion for health and wellness has created multiple stepping stones for paving the way of creating a positive well being. Her first book can be found here:

A Ph.D Takes Your B.S to a Whole New Level: Survive Grad School with the Right Mentality

Effective Communication and Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Originally published on January 8, 2017 by Orlando Medical News.

What is emotional intelligence and why should we use it in the workplace?

Most people define emotional intelligence as the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and the ability to use this awareness to manage behaviors and relationships.

Typically, there is the implementation of intelligence quotient (IQ) versus emotional quotient (EQ) throughout the use of emotional intelligence. IQ is as follows: Your ability to learn and apply information to skills (e.g., logical reasoning). EQ is as follows: A flexible skill that can be learned (e.g., the ability to type faster).
How does emotional intelligence allow for effective communication?

There is a promotion of the following:

Self-awareness: ability to perceive your own emotions, which helps to understand others in a better manner.

Self-management: ability to use your awareness of emotions to stay flexible so that your behavior is positive.

 

Social awareness: ability to pick up on the emotions of others so that you can play a role towards understanding their behaviors.

How do you use emotional intelligence for effective communication?
The following are some strategies that you can use in order to help you follow through with the use of emotional intelligence within the workplace:
Pay attention to your emotions: Understand what your emotional triggers are. If needed, create a journal and jot down every time you feel sad, angry, happy, etc. You may find a pattern!
Allow for empathy: Try to understand how people are feeling before reacting. Within the workplace, the lack of empathy often creates many problems which can be solved if there was a sense of understanding.
Practice self-regulation: Do you have a boss or co-worker that you would like to tell off? Even if this is the case, it is easy to state what is on our minds without allowing for proper self-awareness. Take a moment to rationalize your thoughts and try not to react in the heat of the moment. The goal is to increase your emotional intelligence, not your enemies!
We all have different personalities, different wants and needs, and different ways of showing our emotions. Navigating through this all takes tact and cleverness – especially if we hope to succeed in life.

Leading Management Solutions helps medical practice leaders identify ways to improve operations to increase revenue, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. Learn more about us at www.lmshealthpro.com.

 

About the Author:

Anita Haridat has her Ph.D in healthcare/business administration and her master’s degree in clinical nutrition. She has several publications in sources such as EGO Magazine, Natural Awakenings Magazine, Syosset Patch, Our USA Magazine and many more. Her passion for health and wellness has created multiple stepping stones for paving the way of creating a positive well being. Her first book can be found here:

A Ph.D Takes Your B.S to a Whole New Level: Survive Grad School with the Right Mentality
Tags :- employee communication, employee engagement, employee relations, human resources, leadership style, management style

Managing Difficult Employees in Healthcare

Originally published on August 1, 2016 at www.lmshealthpro.com.  By Kristen Brady

There are difficult employees in every profession. However, a problem employee in healthcare can actually affect the patient care in an organization. As other staff members attempt to deal with an employee who is either difficult to work with or who has traits that other employees are unable to deal with, it is up to the manager to handle the situation. These tips can help healthcare managers deal with employees whose attitude, personality or work ethic is becoming a distraction in the workplace.


Everyone Can Be Difficult

 

The first thing to remember is that everyone can be difficult to work with at one point or another. An argument with a teenager or spouse just before they arrived at work can lead someone to be difficult during the work day. Stress at home or a heavy workload can make even the most easy going staff member snap at another sometimes. These are not the situations to be discussed, however. Problem employees are those who are chronically difficult to deal with. They argue their opinion over and over again or make decisions based on what benefits them rather than the team or the patient. Some may talk instead of listen while others may be disrespectful. In some cases, the behavior is a habit while others have developed the traits over time as a coping mechanism.

 

Four Types of Difficult Personalities

 

According to experts, there are four types of difficult personalities. The first is abrupt, domineering and arrogant. They use extreme aggression to get what they want and are not afraid to make a scene in public. The second is passive-aggressive. They often make negative remarks that they pass off as teasing. They often attempt to sabotage leaders and coworkers. The third is a constant complainer who whines and finds fault in everything. They feel it is their responsibility to complain in order to make things right, but they rarely offer solutions. The fourth is unresponsive and disengaged. They often shut down during conversations and avoid answering questions directly.

 

Managing Aggressive and Domineering Employees

 

The first step in managing an aggressive and domineering employee is to maintain composure. Aggressive people attempt to deliberately upset others so that they can take advantage by exploiting weaknesses. Although it may be difficult, the first step is to offer as little reaction as possible. Take a deep breath and count to ten before responding. If you reach ten and are still upset, take a time out by walking away in order to calm down. Tell the person that you will get back to them or to let you think about the discussion. Pick your battles as there are times dealing with an aggressive person is not worth your well-being or happiness. However, as a manager, allowing an aggressive person to continually show aggression in the workplace can undermine your authority. When you have to address their actions, approach them on their level and keep the conversation brief but targeted. Be sure to meet with them in private and not in front of other staff or patients. Clearly outline the impact of their behavior using specific examples. Be sure to treat them with respect and remain calm.

 

Benefits of Aggressive and Domineering Employees

 

Although aggressive and domineering employees can be difficult to work with, there are advantages to this type of personality type in the workplace. Domineering employees make excellent leaders, especially during a crisis. Their energy can help other employees stay focused and they may be more willing than others to take on new challenges. When discussing the actions of an aggressive person, be sure to point out their strengths. This could help them focus their energies on positive actions rather than negative ones.

 

Dealing with Passive-Aggressive Employees

 

A passive-aggressive employee has behaviors that appear to be passive but are actually directed and purposeful. The actions are intended to control others or assign a negative third-party perception so that they can avoid responsibility. It is sometimes difficult to recognize a passive-aggressive employee which makes them harder to control. Once you have identified that an employee is passive-aggressive, you must address their behavior directly. Be sure to focus on your own feelings and not the behavior. Never attack the character of a passive-aggressive employee and make sure you address the situation in private. Confront them about one behavior at a time rather than all at once. If they feel the need to retreat during the conversation, allow them to do so in a dignified manner. Set a time limit to meet with them as passive-aggressive employees have a tendency to let disagreements drag on. Be sure that the person understands that you care about them.

 

Passive-Aggressive Behavior in the Workplace

 

Unfortunately, there are no benefits to allowing a passive-aggressive person continue their behaviors in the workplace. In many cases, the passive-aggressive person has developed the behaviors because they have no insight into themselves. When confronted, they feel they are treated unfairly as they may not even realize they are angry and resentful. They tend to procrastinate and are very resistant to change. They have fragile egos and do not handle any form of criticism well. They withhold information about how they feel. When an employee demonstrates passive-aggressive behavior, it must be addressed quickly and efficiently in order to prevent significant damage to morale.

 

Dealing with a Constantly Complaining Employee

 

The constant complainer is a fountain of complaints in the workplace. In most cases, complainers can be ignored. Eventually, constant complaints will lead to a confrontation with either management or another employee. The first step to address constant complainers is to schedule a meeting in a private location. Set a time limit of no more than 15 minutes. From the beginning, express empathy. Often, constant complainers simply want to know they are heard. Show appreciation for them bringing the issue to your attention, but make no judgment on whether the complaints are valid. Do not try to convince them that the problems they see are not really an issue as you will not change their mind. Ask them to provide you with some solutions to the problem. If they are complaining about a co-worker, require them to deal directly with the other person. If they cannot without intervention, offer to mediate a meeting between the two of them. Ask if the complainer wants your opinion. In most cases, they will not. They simply want to be heard.

 

Benefits of Chronic Complainers

 

Although there are those who simply complain to be heard, chronic complainers can also draw attention to issues within an organization that management may be missing. Pay attention when people complain, even those who seem to complain about everything, as there may be some underlying truth to their complaints. By asking them to provide solutions, you will also learn whether their complaint has merit. If there is no valid solution, the complaint may not be valid.

 

Dealing with Unresponsive Employees

 

Disengaged and unresponsive employees have a lack of enthusiasm or commitment to the workplace. They basically “put in time” during each shift with no excitement or passion for their job. Disengagement is a growing problem in the workplace, especially among healthcare workers who are being pulled in many different directions. If you suspect an employee is disengaged, schedule a private meeting and specifically ask if there is a problem. Skip the small talk and get to the point immediately. Explain that they appear to be disinterested in patient care or another aspect of their job and ask if there is a problem. Listen and then confirm what they say to you. Repeat what they say in order to clarify that you heard them. Don’t pressure them to talk. One of the best questions to ask is “If this problem were solved today, how would your work performance change?” If the employee answers with confidence, they are willing to repair the situation. If they do not, they may be in the wrong position. End the meeting with a commitment to action and follow-up with written documentation of what that action will be.

 

Engagement and Happiness

It is important to understand that engagement and happiness are two different things. An employee who is engaged is invested in the organization. By determining what it is that is making the employee disengaged, you may be able to identify larger problems in the organization that need addressing as well.

Every manager will have to deal with a difficult employee at some point. Understanding the different types of difficult employees can help you learn the best way to manage them effectively, creating a better working environment for management and staff alike.

Leading Management Solutions helps medical practice leaders identify ways to improve operations to increase revenue, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. Learn more about us at www.lmshealthpro.com.

About the Author:

 

Kristen Brady is the founder and owner of Kaboom Social Media, your social media marketing and content specialists! Follow her on Twitter: @kb54927