What is your department's official stance on workplace culture?
There is a move away from ‘zero-tolerance’ policies and towards creating cultures of civility, respect and kindness.1 Misunderstandings will occur, but in the right environment these misunderstandings are addressed early, are less likely to escalate or to spread.
Make the department's stance visible
Make sure everyone who works in your department is aware of the departments stance on workplace culture. Some examples of how you might do this include through departmental activities, induction for those new to the department and posters (RCOG posters below, CSL infographics, gathering of kindness posters)
Lead from the front
Show that you believe in civility, respect and kindness. This can be easier said than done and takes courage.
- Show that it is ok to speak up by letting your colleagues know if you witness incivility or poor workplace behaviour. Train in 'calling it out'.
- Show that everyone can be inadvertently rude or misunderstood by thanking those who spot your own inadvertent uncivil behaviours.
- Show that it is ok to say ‘sorry’ when it happens.
- The King’s Fund have worked well with NHS Improvement to develop compassionate leadership resources. They describe 4 key behaviours: attending, understanding, empathising and helping.
- Practical advice for embedding compassionate leadership can be found in Vogus and McCeleenad’s “Actions, style and practices: how leaders ensure compassionate care delivery” BMJ Leader June 2020
- There is increasing evidence that those working in care- giving organisations which are compassionate are more likely to have the emotional resource needed for caring and are less likely to experience burnout. (Figley 1995, Lilius et al 2011)
- Optimism, cohesiveness, humour, support and a sense of efficacy in work contribute to improved patient care (West 2013). There is an unassailable link between patients who are treated with compassion and employees who are treated with compassion.