‘Bad’ behaviour

Clinicians, and especially doctors, are often complained about because of ‘bad’ behaviour.  Indeed, the single most common cause of complaints in the NHS is the ‘attitude’ of staff. 

The context can be varied, and may be in meetings with colleagues (in particular, with managers), consultations with patients, or even one-to-one.  Most people have an intuitive understanding of ‘bad’ behaviour, but often the person doing it has little insight into their behaviour and can be quite surprised, or even shocked, when it’s pointed out.

 So, I thought it might be instructive to be explicit about what I mean by ‘bad’ behaviour.  See if you recognise any of these things in your own, or others, behaviour: 

  • Losing emotional control
    • raising voice
    • shouting
    • crying
    • shaking
    • aggressive gesticulation, e.g finger-pointing, banging fist on table
  • Bullying and harassment
    • Interrupting, talking over, ignoring
    • offensive, intimidating, abusive or insulting behaviour
    • constant criticism, undermining (especially in front of others)
    • belittling, degrading, demeaning, ridiculing, patronising, subjecting to disparaging remarks
    • taunting and teasing where the intention is to embarass and humiliate (this is often, mistakenly, thought to be funny and light-hearted)
    • avoiding eye contact
  • Poor communication
    • body language, e.g. facial expressions, postures, etc convey the above meanings
    • aggressive or unpleasant tone of voice
    • expressing ideas in a vague or ambiguous way
    • poor use of English
    • using dogmatic statements, rather than questions

One thought on “‘Bad’ behaviour

  1. So what do you do once you’ve recognised these behaviours? Tolerate them. Change them. Deny them. Intend not to repeat them!

    Much of the focus of Applied Emotional Intelligence (EI) is ‘attitude’ – how much (or how little) we value ourselves compared to how much (or how little) we value others. In Transactional Analysis terms, the extent to which we demonstrate I’m OK. You’re OK. behaviour. Our behaviour – both interpersonal behaviour and intra-personal behaviour is affected by our level of self worth. All the ‘bad’ behaviours listed above are symptoms of either a lack of ‘OKness’ or poor self awareness and consequently poor self management.

    The good news is all of this is developable. I worked with a team of surgeons on their self- confessed team ‘dysfunctionality’ and ‘bad’ behaviour. They developed, transformed, became more self aware, more aware of others and consequently managed themselves and their relationships better.
    (For more detail http://www.peopleintelligence.com/pdf/Top_Team_Development_surgeons.pdf)

    No one has to tolerate ‘bad’ behaviour. Any ‘self-respecting’ individual can develop and self manage her/his behaviour to be much more personally effective. EI based oaching or team development will get you well on your way to achieving this. The results will be improved relationships, less conflict, and reduced complaints. People tend not to complain about someone they like / respect.

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