Workplace Drama – Your Patients See It

Moods are contagious. If you’ve ever been dragged into someone’s drama in the workplace, you know how damaging it can be to staff morale.  One person gossiping or finding fault in others sends a ripple through the team. So it’s important to remember that allowing drama will ultimately erode the patient experience because it’s difficult to be upbeat and focused on patients when there’s drama brewing in the background. Patients sense discord. 

I remember once when my mom was a patient. She commented that the staff didn’t get along. Always the researcher, I asked, “How does that make you feel?” She replied, “It makes me feel uncomfortable and that I’m not the top priority.” 

Drama can take many forms. It can manifest as gossip, passive aggressive behavior, victim behavior, fighting and power struggles. Although it can be exhausting for the leader to try to manage, it’s essential because what you permit you promote. It’s the leader’s job then, to set boundaries and expectations as well as model behavior. After all, you are the keeper of the culture. 

Let your team know your expectations. Ask for their support in following a “no drama” code of conduct which means they don’t create or participate in the drama. Remind them that they can simply walk away or, they can go one step further and confront the individual engaged in toxic behavior. 

Engaged and fully engaged employees don’t create drama. So when you spot it in the ranks, deal with it swiftly before it spreads. You are the keeper of the culture.

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