Everyone has been there at one time or another: a negative co-worker creates a toxic environment at work. What’s the best way to handle this? It’s important to avoid getting dragged down into the negativity, but what’s the most effective and appropriate way to do that?
Why is it a problem?
Before considering solutions, it might be helpful to examine why this is a problem. Why not just let the negative person go on being negative? It’s important to deal with negativity because a positive attitude in health care professions can…impact…actual job performance. As anyone who has dealt with a negative co-worker can attest, that one individual can bring others down.
That can have major ramifications. The negativity can be draining, and it can make everyone feel like the positivity and energy are being sucked right out of the environment. There’s a good reason to feel that way: Research shows that workplace negativity creates a toxic environment that has an adverse impact on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Dealing with it
Sometimes, simple and direct is the way to go. It can be helpful to sit down with the negative co-worker to make the person aware of the problem, but it’s important to avoid words that can make the individual feel defensive. It’s also important to listen, and it’s possible that this might help the negative co-worker reach a resolution, or at least the beginning of one.
However, it’s absolutely essential to avoid getting caught up in the negativity. Empathizing can lead to negative bonding, which can encourage the negative co-worker to continue in the same vein. Similarly, it’s important to keep in mind that the toxicity can be contagious. In other words, when making the co-worker aware of the problem, it’s important to avoid coming across as negative, complaining, or otherwise like a willing participant in the negativity.
Managing the problem
The problem can be particularly troublesome in healthcare because it can have an impact on patients. Unfortunately, many managers tend to ignore nurse-to-nurse conflict, or act like a third party and negotiate a compromise in order to end an energy-draining situation quickly. Equally unfortunately, neither of these strategies is effective. So what’s the answer? Everyone must unite against the negative behavior: the responsibility for creating a professional work environment ultimately lies with each individual nurse.
What about situations where negative behavior turns into bullying? Healthcare facilities have backing from the Joint Commission when it comes to dealing with bullying behavior. Failure to address it can cause other problems: it can have potentially serious consequences for patients, and that’s something everyone wants to avoid.
A positive environment
At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we specialize in the recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals in per diem, travel, and permanent assignments in healthcare facilities across the country. Negative co-workers can drag everyone down; if you are ready to find an assignment in a new environment, give us a call at 310.436.3650 today. We would love to work with you!