I’d rather meet Freddie Krueger than some of the characters described by William Bradley, MD, and Valerie Jackson, MD, department leaders in San Diego and Indiana respectively, in their talk on problem employees. After all, you expect to meet a monster in a horror film, but not in your local radiology department or practice. To prevent one bad actor (or actress) from wreaking havoc in your organization, implement the following matrix for creating a healthy organizational culture that doesn’t allow problems to fester, recommended Paul A. Craig, chief of human resources and risk officer at UC San Diego: “Both clinical and technical staff expect leaders to assure a civil workplace.”
1. Set clear expectations and maintain a zero-tolerance policy for violations.
2. Have HR department train you and your employees to recognize and respond to early signs of dysfunction.
3. Listen carefully and maintain an open-door policy.
4. Role model civil behavior.
5. Recognize and deal with conflicts early: Keep all conversations focused on job performance.
6. Take complaints seriously.
7. Don’t let HR be the last to find out.