Managers, Practice Owners, Stress Reduction, Team, Team Building, Veterinary Management

Gaslighting in the veterinary practice.

It’s a thing!

We just had an article published in Veterinary Practice News magazine! Have you read it? It’s on gaslighting in the veterinary practice.

Linda and I not only work in digital media and marketing we spend a great deal of our time working on personal and professional brand coaching. We have lots of folks in our brand coaching program developing who they are and what they want to be online within their own brands. The majority of our clients have come from the veterinary medicine space. They are from all over veterinary medicine. So how does this relate to Gaslighting and the article we just wrote for Veterinary Practice News?

I’m glad you asked.

Toxic Environments are grown, nurtured, and cultivated over time.

We have all heard of the term ‘toxic environment’. How many times have we heard when someone wants to quit a job they say it was a ‘toxic environment’ and we all nod our heads in agreement and understanding. We have all been there and we have all had those jobs. A toxic work environment is a place where people are treated unfairly, discriminated against, or harassed at work. The negative environment can lead to increased stress levels, lower productivity, less innovation, and reduced employee retention. The number one reason for quitting your job is a toxic workplace – according to a Gallup poll in 2017.

Read the article on gaslighting in the practice here.

What we don’t talk about it is how we ended up with a toxic environment at our practice in the first place. No manager or owner ever opened the doors of their practice and said to themselves, ‘Today is the day I build a festering cesspool of toxicity for my team’. It just isn’t a thing. I have never met a manager that had bad intentions, honestly, I haven’t. They may not have known how to do things correctly or they were a ‘bad’ manager but they never intended to be. Same with owners, they didn’t know what they didn’t know. We all don’t. Are you following me?

Normalizing the conversation

It is important to be able to recognize toxic behaviors and how they affect others. If someone knows what signs to look for, then they will be able to see it before it gets out of hand and becomes a toxic culture that is hard to get rid of. If a practice’s culture is toxic, then the negativity will leak out and affect some of the staff. Over time, these people will start to see their careers stagnate and become unhappy because of this. Toxic cultures are self-fulfilling prophecies since once they exist, it becomes hard for them to change.

Growing past toxicity and gaslighting

In order to solve this problem leadership teams need to be more aware of the risks that come with allowing a toxic environment and find ways to avoid this at all costs before it’s too late. The success of any company is dependent on how the employees work together and communicate together. The better the communication, the better the company’s performance.

This article outlines some of the gaslighting tactics we allow every day in practice. Each one seems like once it’s over it’s over, no harm no foul. It really isn’t the residue from the negativity sticks around and grows.

So how does this relate back to our work in personal and professional branding? Well, the story we hear is that people are wanting to leave the industry and they want to develop an online brand and hopefully create a new place for themselves that allows them to be unique and purposeful. They want to continue to support people in the veterinary space but are now motivated by what they have experienced while being gaslighted.

We all own this

I encourage all of us to look a little more closely at how we allow ourselves and the people on our teams to speak, act and do in our practices. It really is dangerous on many levels to give someone unchecked power to manipulate others. Open communication within the team can drastically reduce the pressure on anxious or uncertain employees and will make the workplace a more pleasant place for all. In addition, it will decrease feelings of dissatisfaction while enhancing morale and productivity.

I want to thank Veterinary Practice News for publishing this article and sharing in their own commitment to supporting mental health education and wellness for everyone on the veterinary team!

Thanks a bunch!

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