By Joy W. Goldman RN, MS PCC: CEO SixSEED Partners
In a recent discussion with a colleague, we were discussing an observation that there appears to be reluctance on the part of some front-line patient care leaders to hold staff accountable for “bad behaviors.” What is cited as the reason for the reluctance is the fear of losing “a warm body” and not being able to find replacements. I immediately felt myself react, not so much to the observation as to the term “bad behavior.”
What is it we label “bad behavior” and what impact does that have on our holding others accountable and providing constructive, performance feedback?
- Bad behaviors are those which are foreign to you as a leader – they are behaviors that are least like you. In fact, rarely would people use those terms to describe you
- Bad behaviors are disruptive to the natural and normal flow of the workplace
- Bad behaviors lead to negative outcomes within your team, patients, and other departments
What’s the risk in labeling behavior as good or bad? Having done this in the past, as is human nature, the label of judgment and my resulting attitude and mindset only serves to upset me further as I obsessively confirm my belief yet do nothing about it.
As Marilee Adams teaches us with “the choice map” and her book: “Change Your Questions, Change Your Life,” we can be more effective leaders and heal ourselves if we can switch from the judger path to the learner path. This is the time to get curious—
- Who is informing this individual about the impact of their behavior on others? Might people be doing work-arounds or avoiding them instead of offering perceptions and entering into dialogue?
- What might be motivating the behavior that is causing the adverse outcome?
- What development opportunity exists for this individual and how am I supporting that?
- How does this behavior that I’m witnessing relate to my strengths, or my own opportunities for development?
- How might this disruptive behavior be exactly what is needed for the team to improve and grow?
- How is this behavior different from the majority and how are we embracing it as a unique expression of a different culture? What evidence do we have that there are negative patient/ system outcomes?
- How might I demonstrate compassion for myself and this individual as I speak to them directly about the impact of their behavior?
- Can I shift my internal belief system that “holding accountable” is a systemic feedback process that carries no greater emotional weight other than that which I place on it?
If you find yourself wrestling with these questions, contact us. We’d welcome supporting you!