Ashley Carty is a seasoned medical professional with over 8 years of experience working at the top hospitals in Southern California, including Hoag, Saddleback Memorial, and UCSD.
Getting along in the workplace is not only important to your health, it’s important to the health of the practice as well as the patients. The key to getting along in a new medical practice with clashing personalities may not always be easy, but we’ve compiled a few tips that should help.
Teamwork makes the dream work, right? The key to a team working effectively together requires the following: everyone must have clear and defined roles, daily goals, shared knowledge, and clear communication. A few other requirements to create the perfect recipe for your dream team? Mutual respect and everyone must have a go-getter attitude. When you start a new job you’ll likely realize who in the medical practice is bitter, tired, or lacks communication. It won’t be your job right away to fix everything but pay attention to each personality type.
This one is on you. In order to make friends and get along with co-workers, it’ll be important not to be introverted. Smile as often as possible (important for the staff and more importantly, for the patients). Praise good work when you see it, lighten the mood and remember never to complain. No one likes a debbie downer and even if you’re not complaining about work, the medical field is tough enough as it is, brings light to your co-worker’s day. Bonus points? Know when it’s someone’s birthday, bring in your favorite snack or meal to share, and try to be friends after work.
“If you have one bad apple in the bunch, it can really hurt the morale and enthusiasm of an entire department,” says Andy Teach, a corporate veteran and author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time. “A department, or company, that works well together, has the most success together. When you enjoy working with your colleagues and look forward to interacting with them, everyone benefits.”
Thinking about complaining to your boss about how you’re not getting along with a co-worker? You may want to address it in an alternative way. Rather than going to them to taddle, ask for advice on how you could potentially improve the relationship. You may be surprised at the response and outcome. Additionally, they will certainly appreciate that you came to them first because you want to “improve the team dynamic and show you’re truly a team player.
More often than not, the common saying that “hurt people hurt people” rings true. Rather than assuming that the person who you’re not getting along with has a direct issue with you, take the time to find out what’s going on. on with them internally. They may be going through something that they are taking out on you. Rather than being their punching bag, start relating to them by sharing a story about how you went through something similar (if true of course). Provide a shoulder to lean on to that porcupine rather than trying to fight it while you keep getting pricked.
Trust when working in a medical practice is worth building, safe-guarding, and mending whenever needed. In practices where mistrust prevails, someone has to jump in to evoke change. How is this done? Shifts in the practice culture must occur one conversation at a time, as the language of trust becomes commonplace. Norms for relating to each other will increase. Work will become more meaningful and stress will likely decline. It may be up to you to take the first step, even when you’re in a new medical practice.
Sometimes it’s a simple personality conflict. Most hiring managers check personality traits of applicants to make sure that they get along with the community culture. For those that don’t, it’s generally recommended that each staff member takes a personality test that’s shared with the team. By knowing other’s personality types, what makes them tick, what makes them happy, what they are passionate about and so forth, teams generally have an easier time adapting. It’s hard to read a book by its cover, and these tests give you the cliff notes to your co-worker’s personality.
If the above notes don’t seem to make a difference and you feel like you’re at the end of the road, don’t give up. You just got the job and you don’t want to risk leaving because of a personality clash. The last step may be asking that person to meet you for coffee after work so you can directly work it out. More often than not, clear non-defensive communication can solve the underlying issue. Remember, getting along in the workplace isn’t only for you, job security, and other staff members, it’s also for the patients. Patients know the second you walk in the room if you’re happy to be on the job or not. It’s important to their well-being that you want to be there and aren’t distracted by the elephant in the room at your new medical practice career.
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