dvm360 Leadership Challenge: Toxic Teams


Can't we all just get along? (And what do you do when the answer is no?) This dvm360 Leadership Challenge investigates the sources of this poison and offers commentary, data and solutions to help teams dismantle their destructive forces.

Can't we all just get along? (And what do you do when the answer is no?) Toxic team members have a way of eating away at the foundation of veterinary practices, leaving a wasteland in their wake. Toxicity is also consistently one the top 5 frustrations veterinarians and their teams list as their biggest challenge in practice. This dvm360 Leadership Challenge investigates the sources of this poison and offers commentary, data and solutions to help teams dismantle their destructive forces and build better teams with a stronger foundation–and lead the practice to more efficiency, smoother workdays, happier clients and healthier patients and a more productive and profitable practice.

Let's dive in ...

Toxic veterinary teams

What they are, why they're so bad for veterinary practices, and where your hope for change lies.



Why toxic teams plague the veterinary profession

According to expert Shawn McVey, veterinary medicine brews more toxicity than other professions. Here are his thoughts on why that is.



"I quit a toxic team"

Toxic teams disrupt patient care and our jobs. Recognizing and removing yourself from the environment is the best thing-for everyone.



Toxic employee or superstar: Who has a greater impact?

According to the Harvard Business Review, you're better off avoiding the poison than going for glory when hiring for your veterinary practice.




Toxic confessions

Veterinary professionals share their toxic team secrets.




Civility codes, explained

Is your veterinary hospital certified civil?





Stress erodes patience, breeds toxicity

Personality clash isn't the only source of bad vibes in veterinary practice.



Front Desk Disasters, Episode 7: Rhonda the toxic bully

Hello, drama! Rhonda the receptionist's toxic relationship with Taylor the technician erupts in real time in front of a veterinary client. Check out this interactive choose-your-own adventure story. Can these relationships be saved?



How toxic teams affect patient care

A fight-or-flight response can leave convalescent pets in the lurch.




Your toxic team is hurting her

Veterinary team, heal thyself. Are you consumed by your feelings? If you want to improve the medical care you offer, start by fixing your toxic team.




6 symptoms of a toxic team

Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, offers six symptoms to diagnose a toxic team environment.




What are you hiding from?

Data from the 2017 dvm360 Toxic Teams Survey shows what's bothering team members at work.




Manager-in–the-middle: Stop triangulated conversation

Face-to-face is the best way to resolve conflict.





That moment when you realize your team isn't talking

Managers, are you feeling caught in the middle? Teach your team to stop fighting and start talking with this advice to foster open communication in your veterinary practice.




Are practice managers caught in the middle?

Short answer? Maybe. In triangulated communication, one person in the veterinary practice refuses to talk to another, forcing a third person (read: manager) to serve as a go-between. Let's take a look at data from the 2017 dvm360 Toxic Teams Survey to see how managers address toxic team environments



What conflict? Where?

Almost three-quarters of veterinary practice owners and managers think they've got a clear picture of their hospital's culture -- and roughly half think they're doing a good job at managing team conflict. The rest of the team? Judge for yourself, but it's like the bosses might be digging themselves a hole.


Full disclosure: This is what happens on a toxic team

Startling data proves that there is a link between toxic veterinary team angst and the care patients receive. Read these tell-all tales from veterinary professionals who've been there and have seen the very worst.


The 3 most common veterinary workplace toxins

Data from the 2017 dvm360 Toxic Teams Survey sheds light on the dysfunction.






Toxic coworkers: When bark is as bad as bite

When conflict festers and communication is angry or chilled, patients, clients and team members suffer. If you don't believe it's true, you're in the minority in veterinary practice. Look at the numbers, thoughts from your colleagues in the survey, and insights from our resident emotional intelligence guru Shawn McVey, MSW.





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