Embracing Civility

The REAL Healthcare Reform!

Tag: bullying (page 1 of 2)

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!

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!

What’s Your Fire Ant Personality?

I was ambushed by an angry mob of ferocious fire ants over the weekend. And, by “ambushed” I mean I suffered three tiny, but excruciating bites. And by “angry mob” I mean I stepped into their home and they failed to welcome me with tea and cookies!

As I scratched, iced and cortisone’d my assaulted ankles I decided I should probably do a Google search to see if I needed to worry about any other symptoms or complications. Turns out—no! I didn’t seem to be allergic and I didn’t suffer enough bites to warrant a trip to the ER! Phew!

Then I stumbled on a study published a few years ago that made me think a little differently about the angry beasts. It seems they have some pretty interesting and distinct personalities!

  • About one third of the colony will play dead during an attack (from a human foot or another colony of fire ants).
  • Another third will run away.
  • The final group will stay and fight to the death. (These are the chumps that got me!)

The first group is made up of the youngest ants. After an attack they can be found curled up just like a dead ant. Then moments later they uncurl and walk away.

Middle aged ants tend to flee, which scientist think may be a tactic to protect the queen.

The eldest ants are aggressive and attack furiously. One researcher points out, “All worker ants are females, and so it’s the cranky old ladies who are the ones fighting to the death.”

Looking at the structure of the fire ant colony reminded me a little bit of the social structures found in most healthcare workplaces. It resembles how different groups deal with the pervasive culture of incivility.

New graduates curl up and play dead when attacked. They may be unsure of how to respond or may fear the consequences that may come from defending themselves.

The more experienced workers tend to cope by ignoring the problem or retreating.

You can draw your own conclusions about the third group!

The interesting thing about the comparison though is that the fire ants act this way out of a primal instinct to protect their home and their family (aka colony) from danger. That makes sense. They are tiny little creatures trying to survive in a giant’s land. But, why do we do it?

Think about the fire ants the next time you are at work. Do you play dead, retreat or fight to the death? And, why? If you play dead, you’re giving the aggressor the confirmation he or she needs to feel powerful. If you ignore the problem or retreat, you may inadvertently perpetuate the problem by “protecting the queen.”

If you’re the one on the attack, think about what you are working so hard to defend. I can assure you, it’s not as important as your home or your entire family (like it is for the fire ants).

 

The Sinister Side of Incivility

We talk a lot about incivility in the healthcare workplace. It’s that insidious, irritating and distracting eye rolling, sarcasm, gossip and belittling we all have either witnessed or experienced. But there is a more serious side of incivility that goes beyond these minor annoyances. And that’s BULLYING.

Bullying is a much more sinister form of incivility that can have devastating emotional effects on workers, costly financial consequences for employers and dangerous or even deadly outcomes for patients.

Are you being bullied at work? If so, get help now!

Here is a helpful graphic that is full of terrific advice
from the folks at Career Journey in the UK.

Source: Career Journey

Nurse Managers: Ditch the Trinkets, Trophies and Doodads!

Looking for an innovative way to reward and inspire your team? It’s probably safe to assume they have enough pens, key chains, water bottles and canvas tote bags!

Before you order your next trinket or chachki, ask yourself if any of those giveaways ever really made a change. For example:

– Did your customized water bottles ever reduce costly medical errors?

– Did the pens and key chains increase employee retention?

– Did the canvas tote bags improve client satisfaction or enhance your organization’s reputation?

The Real Healthcare ReformChances are good that your answers are “No, no and no!” So, why keep doing it?

Instead of the typical gimmicks and giveaways, make your incentive dollars count!  Give a gift that shows just how much you value your employees, your clients and your organization.

Give the book, “The REAL Healthcare Reform: How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout and Revive Your Healthcare Career” as your next incentive gift!

By giving “The REAL Healthcare Reform” to your team, you will

    • Encourage civility,
    • Promote healthy teamwork,
    • Enhance your team’s communication,
    • Decrease your turnover rate,
    • Improve client care, and
    • Reduce costly medical errors.

That’s a valuable return you won’t get by giving t-shirts or tote bags!

With special bulk pricing in place, you can put of a copy of “The REAL Healthcare Reform” into the hands of every member of your organization for as little as $4.98 each. Here are your options:

Quantity
of Books

Qty
Discount

Price
Each

Your
Cost

12

50%

9.97

$119.64

24

55%

8.97

$215.28

50

60%

7.98

$399.00

100

65%

6.98

$698.00

150

70%

5.98

$897.00

300

75%

4.98

$1,494.00


List Price:  Book / Instructor’s Manual
$19.95 ea. /  $125.00 ea.

Click here to learn more about
“The REAL Healthcare Reform” and read a sample chapter!

 

Civility STAT!

  Answers to your personal questions about
combating workplace incivility right NOW!

We get lots of questions about workplace incivility, and we’d like to share them with you! While each problem is specific to the individual who sends it,
most people will be able to relate and make use of the information.

If you have something you’d like to ask our workplace incivility experts, click here and send us your anonymous question.  We will never publish real names or workplaces in this column.

————————————————————————

Dear Civility Stat,

I’ve worked at the same LTC facility for years. When I first got here, the atmosphere was really backstabbing and unfriendly. So a bunch of us got together and we all signed a pact to get along- no backbiting allowed- and it seemed to work for years.

About six months ago a new DON was hired and it’s like she seems to prefer an environment that is competitive and unfriendly, so she encourages it here. Now we are all backbiting, bullying and being mean to each other.

I don’t enjoy coming to work anymore and I don’t know what to do. I get a sick feeling in my stomach on my way to work every day. Do you think I should just look for another job?

JP

——————————————————————

Dear JP,

I’m really sorry to hear about your situation at work. When someone in a position of power, such as a supervisor or manager is responsible for creating the culture of incivility, finding a solution can seem impossible.

The first thing that jumped out at me when I got your email was the idea of the “pact to get along.” I love this idea. It’s no wonder it worked for years! Are there any of the original “pact” signers left? If so, I would start there. Get the core group together and draft another pact. Then, get the newer hires on board. I would even invite the new DON to sign it!

Here is a sample Civility Pact anyone can use. Feel free to personalize it to meet your own needs!

Keep us posted, JP. We’d love to hear how this works out for you!

 

What Makes Assertiveness So Complicated?

Our friend and fellow nurse, Beth Boynton, RN, MS (author of Confident Voices: The Nurses’ Guide to Improving Communication & Creating Positive Workplaces) opens a really great discussion in her new blog, Bleeding Hearts, Shark Infested Waters Meet the Relativity and Complexity of Assertiveness.

In the article, Beth writes,

“Assertiveness is way more complicated than being firm or just speaking up for yourself . . .”

This is so true—and definitely worth further exploration.

It’s easy for someone to say, “Well, you just have to be more assertive.” But, as Beth points out, it’s much easier said than done.

Beth outlines at least six reasons why being assertive is so complicated.  A few highlights include that assertiveness:

“. . . involves individual developmental qualities such as self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-efficacy.”

“. . . takes place in the context of relationships.”

Is influenced by, “gender, age, ethnic and personality differences.”

I think that another point to add is that assertiveness may not always be consistent for people. In other words, a person may be able to behave assertively in certain situations but not in others. For example, you may find it easy to behave assertively when you are in familiar surroundings, or your “comfort zone,” but have trouble finding your assertiveness in unfamiliar surroundings, like at a new job or when being “floated” to a new floor.

Here is a chart from our book, “The REAL Healthcare Reform: How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout and Revive Your Healthcare Career.” that compares assertive behaviors to passive and aggressive behaviors.

PASSIVE

ASSERTIVE

AGGRESSIVE

Description You put everyone’s
needs first—while ignoring your own.
You stand up for your rights while showing respect for the rights of others. You stand up for
your own rights—
but violate the
rights of others.
How You View Your
Self and Others
You may think:I am not important.

I don’t matter.

You believe:Everyone is important.

We are all equal.

You tell others:Your feelings are not important.

You don’t matter.

I’m superior.

Verbal Habits and Styles You:Apologize frequently.

Speak in a soft or unsure voice.

You:Use “I” statements (to take ownership of your own actions).

Speak in a firm voice.

You:Use “you” statements (to blame or accuse others).

Speak in a loud voice.

Non-Verbal Habits and  Styles You:Avoid eye contact.

Stand with stooped shoulders.

You have:Direct, non-threatening eye contact.

Relaxed posture.

You:Stare with accusing eyes.

Have a tense posture, with clenched fists.

Outcomes
or Results
Low self-esteem.Not respected by others. High self-esteem.Self-respect.

Respected by others.

Low self-esteem.Disrespected.

Feared.

 

Do you think it’s possible to behave assertively in every situation and within every relationship? If not, what are your challenges? What do you think you can do to overcome those challenges?

Leave us a comment! We’d love to hear from you!

 

If there was a penalty for being rude . . .

incivility, civility, bullying, workplace bullying, change.orgHow would you feel if the government decided to regulate your attitude? If there was a penalty for being rude, unkind, short-tempered or mean, would you be guilty?

What if there was a monetary fine or even jail time for bullying? Would you quickly find yourself broke and/or behind bars?

– In Australia, one Union is pushing for mandatory jail time for workplace bullies.

– A bill in the Philippines, known as the “Anti Cyber Bullying Act of 2012″ seeks to penalize violators with a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 Philippine Pesos (that’s $1,100 to $2,300 USD) and imprisonment for six months to six years.

– Forty nine states in the US now have laws against bullying that allow victims to sue their employer for failing to prevent or punish workplace abusers.

– The Joint Commission has determined that “behaviors that undermine a culture of safety” are now considered a Sentinel Event and requires several new Leadership Standards, including requirements to provide education that focuses on civility and professionalism for all persons.

Look, no one likes to be TOLD what to do. And certainly, we don’t need to be nagged, reprimanded or reminded to “be nice.” And, while it may be difficult to admit that you have behaved in an uncivil way, most of us have been judgmental, jealous, rude or even short-tempered at one time or another.

Unfortunately, these behaviors are extremely contagious, and over time can infect an individual, a team, and an entire organization.

Today we face a worldwide, growing epidemic of incivility and SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!

Let’s not wait for our employers and our government to tell us how to behave. We can do this on our own. Each of us has the power to turn this problem around . . . and we can do it one person at a time. Let’s start a grassroots movement to restore civility to our workplaces, schools and public discourse, TODAY!

All you have to do is make a few basic changes in the way you interact with others. When you do this, your positive behaviors will go “viral!”

It works because just as rude and uncivil behaviors beget more rudeness and incivility, your kind, considerate and civil behaviors will bring about more kindness and civility!

Try it . . . you’ll see! Be sure to check back and let us know how it’s working for you!

 

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