Embracing Civility

The REAL Healthcare Reform!

Category: Bullying

8 Ways to Deal with a Difficult Co-Worker

You come across all kinds of different people in your job!  And different people have different personalities!

Your “personality” is a combination of all your mannerisms, quirks and behavior patterns that make up your character. It’s what makes you “You!”  How you see the world, your attitude, thoughts, and feelings are all part of your personality. 

Personality is usually formed at an early age.  We take cues from our family, friends, teachers and other influential people.  We try out different attitudes and behaviors and we stick with what works!

  • People with healthy personalities are able to cope with normal stresses and have no trouble communicating their needs and forming relationships with family, friends, and co-workers.
  • People who tend to be “difficult” when faced with stress may have trouble communicating their needs, forming relationships, or getting what they want out if life.

Getting along with all kinds of people (with a variety of different personalities) is part of your job.  That means, whether you like it or not, you have to find a way to handle people with difficult personalities.

HERE’S THE HARD TRUTH: No matter how hard you try, you will NEVER change other people!

The key to dealing with difficult people is changing the way you react to the situation!  Your attitude and communication skills will make all the difference!

Here are 8 things you can do when faced with a difficult person at work:

  1. Keep your cool. Whether your co-worker is yelling, complaining, criticizing or blaming, just  stand still, looking directly at the person…and wait.  This gives the person a chance to get all their anger out.
  2. Don’t be the “floor show.” If a co-worker wants to squabble in front of the team, calmly say, “I want to hear everything you have to say, but not here where it might disturb others.  Let’s go somewhere private.”
  3. Take ten.  Remember that old “rule” about counting to ten?  It really does work.  If you’re having trouble with #1 (keeping your cool), remove yourself from the situation, breathe slowly and count to ten.  When you’re ready, go back and handle the situation.
  4. Be the boss. Don’t allow other people to control your moods. This gives others entirely too much power over you.  So, if you’re in a good mood, don’t let someone else’s grouchy attitude bring you down.
  5. Focus on actions. When dealing with a difficult person, focus on the particular behaviors you don’t like…rather than just labeling the person.  For example, instead of saying, “You’re always so rude” try saying, “I feel hurt when you ignore me.”
  6. Be your own cheerleader. The next time you have to work with a difficult person, give yourself a little “pep talk.”  Tell yourself, “I’m ready for this.  I can handle whatever happens today.  I will not get upset, no matter what.”
  7. Play it back in your head. If you saw a videotape of yourself from a recent confrontation with a difficult person, would you be embarrassed by your own behavior?  If so, how would you like to see yourself behave?
  8. Save your strength. Don’t waste your energy trying to change people who behave in a difficult manner.  Instead, work on changing the way you react to their behavior.

HEY TRAINERS AND EDUCATORS! Here’s an activity from the Instructor’s Manual for “The REAL Healthcare Reform Civility Training Program.  Use this activity to practice ways to resolve common work related conflicts.

Download the Activity!

Hating Your Job? Are You the Workplace Grouch?

“So, how was your day?” is a question you may be asked, well, every day. Do you answer honestly? Do you gloss over the stressful moments and face-palms? Or do you answer by focusing almost entirely on them? Maybe you just respond with something like “It’s good, now that it’s over.”

The vast majority of workers are not satisfied with their jobs. This is not necessarily a matter of the grass being greener somewhere -anywhere- else. The overwhelming issue contributing to dissatisfaction is not usually compensation, job duties, career opportunities, or even hours worked.

Taken alone, devoid of all the aggravating accoutrements, you might actually enjoy the job you hold. After all, didn’t you seek out and actively pursue this position? Remember how great the first few days on the job felt? You probably felt proud of yourself for landing that first interview, then beating out the competition and telling all your family and friends about how the hiring manager loved your resume/work ethic/test score/shoes.

Well, what happened? Fast forward five years: you’ve been slogging it out for what seems like a lifetime and dread walking in the door every morning. You snatch glimpses of the clock at work and sigh when only a few minutes pass between glances. No amount of will or wishing makes it tick any faster.

In many cases you can blame it on the workload, low pay, lack of promotion potential, and weak coffee in the break-room. But do those things really make you loathe your job? Lots of people love their low paying jobs. Lots of people work hard in dead end jobs. Lots of people suffer weak coffee. I’m not sure that’s why the workforce is not satisfied.

But there’s another big one: what about your workplace environment? Your coworkers, your customers, your bosses. How do they make you feel? Do you look forward to seeing them every day? If you’re like most, you have a work friend or two, and most everyone else you can stand, at least for a while. But there’s always one or two unkind folks that just drag the whole place down. Or what about that spiteful customer that just loves to watch you squirm? Doesn’t that make you just want to throw whatever’s in your arms straight to the ground and stomp out for good?

I submit thus the reason why you hate your job. Negativity has struck, at least in your own head, but maybe even the entire workplace is infected with it (kind of like the stomach bug passed around at the last Christmas party).  Maybe (probably), you and everyone around you already know this. So, what’s the big deal? Isn’t everyone negative at work? That may seem to be a legitimate excuse. Everyone hates their job, so why shouldn’t I? Guess what? You are part of the problem!

funny_cartoon_new_year_resolutions_calvin_and_hobbes

Well, here’s your dose of antidote to the poison that ails you. Civility. Yes, civility. What is it? And should it matter in the slightest? Most people equate it to being polite and meek. Something expected of you as a child. But that is not really accurate- it is a mature and self-respecting state of being. Here are a few other things it isn’t: a desire to create a faux pleasant atmosphere at your own expense. Civility is not about letting aggressive people stand on your exposed soft parts.

A couple more things that it is: self-control, self-reflection, maturity, taking responsibility for yourself, managing your export. Export in this sense means the manner in which you present yourself, speak to others and non-verbally communicate. Imagine how much better you would feel if you controlled the environment around you, especially pertaining to those negative people that bring you down. They’ve turned you to the dark side! Get back on track by retaking the initiative and choosing your own path.

I don’t have a personally relatable anecdote for each and every person out there who needs to learn or become reacquainted with civility. But I have a guide for you, and a good one at that. It’s called Get the Grouch Out! How Embracing Civility Can Banish Bad Behaviors and Create a More Respectful and Productive Workplace.

grouch_frontcover

Here are some of the things you should be able to internalize and practice by reading this guidebook:

  • Learn to self-reflect and self-manage.
  • Focus on your integrity.
  • Recognize how you present yourself to others.
  • Control your negative moods.
  • Deal with difficult people.
  • Maintain professional relationships.
  • Communicate properly with a team.
  • Fix structural workplace problems from within.

As a whole, the guide will show you that to empower yourself with personal control is to be in a civil state of being. It shows that adhering to a method of personal control and owning your own path to happiness and success is a gift everyone can and should give to themselves right now. Go get it for yourself now on Kindle, and take your workplace back!

Free For Nurses’ Week . . . [last day to enter]

newcover.inddHey Nurses!  It’s National Nurses’ Week and we’d like to say “THANK YOU!”  From now until Monday, May 12th, we’re giving away free, signed copies of our book!

It’s pretty easy.  Just follow these three quick steps:

1.  Leave a comment below, (where it says “Join the Conversation”) telling us why you love being a nurse.

2.  Fill out this form so we know where to send your book.

–> FORM NO LONGER AVAILABLE. CONTEST HAS ENDED. <–

3.  Pay it Forward. When you are done reading the book, pass it on to another nurse who you think may benefit from reading it.

Please Note: You must leave a comment below and send us your address in form above in order to receive your free book.

Survey: Tell Us about Your Bad Boss!

bad bossAt some point, just about everyone experiences
the agony of a bad boss.

But what do you do about it? Sometimes it helps
to know what others do in the same situation.

Take this short survey.
It’s completely anonymous!
We’ll gather answers and post results in about a week!

While you wait for results . . .

If you’re dealing with a difficult supervisor right now, there are a few things you can try to make the situation a little less frustrating.  Here’s an except from The REAL Healthcare Reform:

When It’s Not You…It’s Your Supervisor!

Resolving problems with a “boss” can be tricky, especially if that person has the power to make your job difficult (or make it go away). 

Here are some tips for getting along with your supervisor, even if you don’t always see eye to eye:

  • Review the expectations.  Make sure that your priorities match what your supervisor expects of you.  You’ll never measure up to your supervisor’s expectations if you don’t know what they are!
  • Remain professional.  Remember that you are there to provide care to your        patients—not to make friends.  As a professional, your goal is to get the job done and carry out your supervisor’s instructions.
  • Don’t expect to change others.  If you work for a “difficult” supervisor, there is probably nothing you can do to change his or her behavior.  The only thing you can control is your own attitude about that person.
  • Take a deep breath.  If a supervisor criticizes your performance, take a deep breath and look at the situation objectively.  Did you really do your best?  Keep in mind that constructive criticism gives us an opportunity to learn and grow professionally.
  • Keep emotions out of it.  If a supervisor confronts you about something, remain calm.  If you let yourself react emotionally, the situation can turn into a “war” where you and your supervisor are fighting about who is right.  Instead, simply say, “I understand.  Thank you for the information.”  Or, try asking for advice and ideas about how your work can be improved.
  • Be careful about complaining.  It may be tempting to complain about your supervisor to your co-workers.  But, be careful!  You may wind up being labeled as a chronic complainer instead of a team player—and your negative comments about your supervisor may get back to him or her and can be used against you.

What’s your solution? Feel free to tell us your
“bad boss” story in the comments below!

Are You Fed Up?

If you are fed up with incivility in your healthcare workplace, watch this:

http://youtu.be/MJaxQNsRCUI&rel=0

UNLESS . . .

unless

In the legendary words of the Once-ler from Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax,

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.

The healthcare industry needs YOU to reverse the culture of incivility.  It all starts with you!

“Working in the healthcare environment is unlike any other professional situation.   The medical field is stressful, fast paced, competitive, highly technical and constantly evolving.  And, because human lives are at stake, those of us in healthcare shoulder a heavy responsibility.

When all of these factors combine, workers tend to feel powerless, stressed out, depressed and even angry.

People who feel powerless and angry are more likely to assert misguided power by abusing others.  That’s one reason why many healthcare environments are plagued by hostility, gossip, bullying and unhealthy competition—leading to a widespread culture of incivility.

We believe that the “shortage” of healthcare workers may, in fact, just be a shortage of workers willing to work under these conditions—and we want to inspire you to make some changes.”

Excerpt from The REAL Healthcare Reform:
How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout
and Revive You Healthcare Career

So, if you feel burned out, beaten up, disrespected or just plain discouraged about your job in healthcare, it’s time to read . . .

How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout and Revive Your Healthcare Career

The REAL Healthcare Reform: How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout and Revive Your Healthcare Career

 

And will you succeed Dr Seuss quote

 

As the old birds sing . . .

birdI’m always fascinated by the “words of wisdom” that come from other cultures. For instance, in Italy they say “Cercare il pelo nell’ uovo,” which means to “look for the hair in the egg,” or in other words, to find fault or nit-pick!

In Spanish, I’m drawn to “Poco a poco se anda lejos.” This translates to “Little by little, one goes far.”

And now, thanks to Linda Leekley, my new favorite Norwegian expression is “Some dei gamle sungo, so kveda dei unge.” In her latest blog post over at In the Know, Linda translates it to “As the old birds sing, so do the young ones tweet.”

And as it turns out, it’s a good lesson for some of us “Old Bird” nurses!

Linda writes: 

Blog Quote from Linda Leekley at In the Know.

Thanks for the great lesson, Linda! 

Is it Possible to Be Pro-Bullying?

October is National Anti-Bullying Month, but anti-bullying campaigns are not limited to just this month.  It’s respectable and noble to be “anti-bullying” these days.  I dare say it’s even trendy. The opposite, pro-bullying, just doesn’t exist. At least no one will admit it.

So why are there still bullies? If we are all so emphatically against it . . . and no one is for it, how can it persist, especially in healthcare?

The fact is that the pro-bullies are the bullies themselves. Bullies desperately try to hold on to their bullying ways because without bullying, they have no power. Or so they think. You see, a bully usually acts out as a means to gain or retain power. Bullying usually comes from a person in a position of power (real or imagined) and involves an abuse or misuse of this power.

Do you work with a “pro-bullying” person? Is there a possibility that you are “pro-bullying” without even knowing it? Take this quick “self-awareness” quiz. Self-awareness is when you realize that, although you are not the center of the universe, everything you say and do can have an impact on others. Bullies tend to act out in a way that demonstrates a lack of self-awareness.

Imagine this conversation between a workplace bully and her target.

Target: It seems like you are just waiting for me to do something wrong so that you can criticize me.

Bully: That’s not true. I’m just trying to make sure you are doing things safely. And it’s not criticism. I’m trying to show you how to do things the right way.

Target: But, I’m doing things the way I was taught and I AM safe.

Bully: Well, maybe you were taught wrong.

Target: Fine, if you are trying to teach me, then can you please do it in private? I don’t think it’s good for the company’s reputation when you yell at me in front of patients and our co-workers.

Bully: I wish I had time to take a break and explain your mistakes to you every time you make one. But, I am busy actually working.

Target: I heard you tell our Supervisor that I was responsible for the spill that caused Mrs. G to fall the other day. You know that’s not true. Are you trying to get me fired?

Bully: All I know is I didn’t do it and you were the only other person in that area that day. It must have been you. I’m just doing my best to keep the patients safe.

This “bully” does not see herself as a bully. She has no self-awareness of the impact of her words and actions on herself, her workplace and her co-workers. She sees herself as smarter, better and faster than everyone else. She has an inflated sense of her own worth and importance in the workplace. She thinks her “way” of doing things is the best or only way. She believes that causing a co-worker to look bad makes herself look good. Unfortunately, this is the case with most bullies.

Bullies have their own unspoken pro-bullying campaign going on. Can Pro-Bullies be turned around? You bet! Bullying is a habit . . . and habits can change. It starts with self-awareness.

If you have one or more “Pro-Bullies” in your workplace, download this printable version of the Self-Awareness quiz and give it to your supervisor for distribution. If you are the supervisor, consider putting copies of the quiz in with paychecks or other announcements. Leave a pile in the break room. Pin it up in the locker room.

If you want to take it a step further, consider implementing a full scale civility training program like the one that goes along with the book, “The REAL Healthcare Reform.”

Tell us what you did or are doing to transform the pro-bullies in your workplace!

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