Cleaning up the toxins--character assassinations (Proceedings)


Anything perceived as real is real in its consequences Anonymous

“Anything perceived as real is real in its consequences”  Anonymous


A look at communication

·         Effective Communication

·         The Process of Interaction

·         “I” and “You” Messages

·         Constructive Confrontation

·         Feedback


Characteristics of effective communicators

·         Focus on behavior

·         Maintain self-confidence and self-esteem

·         Maintain constructive relationships

·         Take initiative

·         Lead by example


Focus on behavior

·          Do you tend to focus on personalities in your practice?

 Are personalities getting in the way of productive communication?


Self confidence & self esteem

·          This is the worst place to offend.

·          It is the difference between the professional and the average.

·          Could you cite examples of how you do this in your hospital?


Constructive relationships

·         Are you resistant to truthful communication because it always “ends up bad”?

·         Do you view feedback or critiques as a personal attack?

·         How do hidden agendas and “office politics” effect truthful communication in your practice?


Do it now

·         It is passive aggressive to wait.

·         You are being paid to make your place of employment the best it can be. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?


Basic human needs

·         Esteem

o    “I appreciate that you….because…”

o    “Thanks for taking the time to…Because of  your support I was able to..”

o    “You did an exceptional job on…

o    I thought…was particularly effective because…”


Basic human needs

·         Empathy

o     “I understand how (feeling) it can be to experience that…(fact).”

o     “From what you've said, it sounds like you're (feeling) about (fact).”

o     “All of you have the right to feel (feeling) because of the way this was

 handled (fact).”

·         Involvement

o     “What do you think should be your next steps”?

o     “I have a situation I am facing and could use your help.”

o     “Who else do you think needs to be involved”?

·         Share

o    “Let me tell you about an experience I had recently and what I learned from it. Maybe it can help you think of other ways to approach this project.”

o     “I have to be honest and admit that I am feeling….about this.”

o     “I'm less concerned about…My bigger concern is…because…”

·         Support

o    “What kind of support would each of you need to achieve your goal”?

o    “You've agreed to take action on…and I have time to coach you if you'd like.”

o    “I appreciate that you're looking to me for ideas. Why don't we explore the options you've all thought of before I offer suggestions”?


“If you don't do your feelings, your feelings will do you”  S. McVey



‘I' and ‘You' messages

·          “I” messages are used when you have a problem that needs to be expressed to someone else.

·          “You” messages are often ones that place blame and attack another.


The interaction process

·         Open

o    In this step we clarify the purpose of the communication and its importance.


o    “The purpose of our discussion is to come up with ways to distribute new work among us so that it gets done, yet no one is over loaded.”

·         Clarify

o    In this step we are looking for facts and figures/issues and concerns. This will help provide insight into potential barriers for good communication.

o    “Before we talk about how to divide up the work, can each of you tell us the the major assignments you are working on and the percentage of time they are taking”?

·         Develop

o    In the development process, as in clarifying, it is important to seek input from other members of the group. Seeking alternative approaches sparks creative energy and results in more and better ideas than what can be generated alone.

o    “As we suspected, each of has a pretty full schedule already.  Given that, what ideas do you have for distributing the work”?

·         Agree

o    Here you specify what will be done, who will do it, and by when.  Great ideas are only great when they are acted upon.

o    “Can we agree which of the two plans for distributing work that we will go with?  Then we can talk about how to present it to the rest of the team and who's going to do what to see that it happens.”

·         Close

o    The close is the final chance to check and see that everyone is clear about the communication.

o    “Just to summarize: Bob, you'll pick up Mike's assignment when it comes through.  Barbara, you'll take over the things Bob was handling. Nancy, you'll… Does everyone still feel this is the best approach”?


“Happiness is not the absence of conflict but the ability to cope with it”



“People treat us the way we teach them to treat us”

                                                                Wayne Dyer


What about confrontation?

·         Understand that there is a process.

·         Effective actions allow you to express views without blaming.

·         Overcoming problems before they turn into full scale conflicts.

·         Defining and working out conflicting goals.


Constructive confrontation: when?

·         Upset or angry

·         Avoidance of coworkers

·         Emotions are interfering with performance

·         Strained relationships


Effective actions

·         Explain the problem as you see it.

o    This helps focus the discussion from the start. Be sure that you are stating your perception of the problem.

·         Describe impact.

o    Talk in the first person about how you perceive things. If you don't effectively communicate how the problem is impacting you, then you are really just griping!

·           Ask for the other person's views.

  The information you have may not be complete, so ask for all of their perspective. This

step also conveys the message that you respect their opinions as well.

·         Explore and discuss solutions.

o    List as many solutions as you can think of. Do not evaluate or criticize any of the ideas until the list is complete. Together, you can “jury select” a solution.

·         Agree on a plan.

o    This step is simple but very important. It is here that you re-check for misunderstandings. If you do this correctly you can be sure you are on the right path toward resolution.

·          Agree on resolution and set a follow-up date.

o    It is easiest to insure a positive outcome if you agree specifically on what each of you are to do while the problem is still fresh in your mind. Sharing responsibility enables both of you to feel committed to the solution.



There are two silent screams in every organization:

  Where are we headed?  And  (2) How am I doing?  Robert Hughes, Ph.D.


·         Giving Feedback to Others

o     Understand the process of giving feedback.

o     Effective actions to give feedback.

o     How and when to approach others.

o     When NOT to give feedback.

·         You Give Feedback When…

o     Ask for your opinion on performance

o     Errors continuing to occur

o     Find other work habits disturbing

o     Employees performance does not meet expectations

·         State the constructive purpose of your feedback

o    Stating and clarifying right at the start provides focus for the conversation and allows the person receiving the feedback to be clear from the start as to where the conversation is heading.

o    “I have a concern about….”

o    I feel I need to let you know…”

·         Effective Actions

o    Describe what you observed.

§  It is so important to be specific and focus only on what you have observed, rather that opinions or rumors. When giving feedback you should have a specific event or action in mind.

o    Describe your reactions.

§  Most people learn better when they have some idea about how their behavior is impacting others around them. Give examples about how you and others were affected by that behavior.

o    Give the other person a chance to respond

§  Allowing the other person the opportunity to respond to your feedback is a basic courtesy and a good chance to check again for miscommunication.



o    Offer specific suggestions.

§  Feedback is rarely “constructive” if it is made up only of negative criticism with no indication that your purpose in giving feedback was to make things better. When possible offer a suggestion for change.  When not, admit that you don't know of a solution but that you are bringing this into the light so that something can change.

o    Summarize and express support

§  By summarizing, you avoid misunderstandings. It is also an opportunity to show your support for the other person. 

§  End on a positive note by communicating confidence in the persons ability to improve the situation.

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