Disruptive behaviors at work can undermine an organization’s goals. The quality of the work suffers and productivity drops. In healthcare, this is particularly dangerous as decreases in performance can have dramatic consequences for patients and providers alike. Patient safety is at stake when poor performance becomes an issue in any healthcare setting. A survey conducted by Weber Shandwick, Powell Tate and KRC Research found that only 39% of Healthcare/Pharmaceutical/Biotech companies were reported as civil workplaces (Civility in America 2018: Civility at Work And In Our Public Squares). These high levels of incivility leave something to be desired. To create a healthy, patient-centric organization, it’s important to foster respectful behaviors in the workplace. That means ending disruptive behaviors once and for all. (Recent civility article in the American College of Physicians)
What is Disruptive Behavior in the Workplace?
Disruptive behavior can cover a large spectrum of issues, from seemingly negligible comments to outright insubordination. Basically, we are considering any negative behavior that has the potential to distract, undermine, or physically/psychologically damage team members. 84% of employees who reported working in uncivil environments experienced a negative impact on their lives and job performance (Civility in America 2018). Below we explore some of the most common negative behaviors in the workplace.
Three of the Most Common Negative Behaviors in the Workplace
This includes gossip, rude comments and negative or disparaging tones. Disruptive speech can lead to lowered morale and diminished performance. This has a very real impact on patient care. A study published in the June 2015 issue of the American Academy of Pediatrics examined the impact of rudeness in a simulated emergency scenario. In that study, in which 24 NICU teams participated in the simulation, some teams were exposed to unrelated rude comments by a “visiting expert” to determine how this exposure would impact their performance. The study concludes that “rudeness alone explained nearly 12% of the variance in diagnostic and procedural performance.”
This is any action that undermines authority or actively works against the goals of the organization. Insubordination may or may not be immediately obvious. The physician who storms out of the operating theater because he’s refusing to perform a certain procedure is a case of overt insubordination. This generally results in disciplinary action and causes obvious distress. More subtle though is the employee who continually refuses to take correction. This employee is engaged in subversive insubordination, which can be just as harmful. In this scenario, other employees who witness the insubordination may recognize the diminishing authority of the organization and choose to push boundaries themselves.
Most of us think of bullying as a school place issue, relegated to the realm of gym shorts and teenage hormones. Sadly, bullying is much more widespread and seriously impacts our workplaces today. The Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2017 National Survey sheds some light on the problem. For this study, bullying was defined as “repeated mistreatment of an employee by one or more employees; abusive conduct that is: threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, work sabotage, or verbal abuse.” The study found that 19% of Americans are bullied, and an astounding 61% have knowledge of abusive conduct at work. Many targets suffer negative health effects (40%) and end up losing their job as a result (65%).
CTI Leadership has experience building personalized leadership strategies and programs for organizations in the healthcare industry and beyond to help them with negative behavior or other needs. See how our leadership training has helped other organizations like yours.