Ask Shawn: Ouch! Am I totally toxic team member?

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Oct 01, 2012

What do I do if I'm the toxic team member? I took the BizQuiz at http://dvm360.com/toxicteam and I think I'm the perfectionist who might drive co-workers a little nutty.



—TOXIC IN TRAINING

DEAR TRAINING:

I know it sounds trite, but even acknowledging that you might be the toxic problem is half of the battle. One of the symptoms of toxic personalities is the absolute unwillingness to take responsibility for the chaos that they cause. You might not be toxic, but perhaps you display some toxic behaviors. There is hope.

What you need is a personal learning agenda to improve your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a measurement of our awareness and understanding of the impact we have on other people at work and everywhere else. Begin with trying to be more self-aware and asking others to give you feedback about how you're affecting them. Tell them you want to improve your working skills and social skills and you need their help. From that foundation of self-awareness, work to change your behavior when you feel your temperature rise emotionally. How we respond in the heat of the moment is the test of our emotional intelligence growth. Use that challenge to improve your empathy for others who are challenged to behave better. That empathy will lead you to a better overall effect on your colleagues in the workplace. Good luck!

—SHAWN

Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, is a member of the Firstline and Veterinary Economics editorial advisory boards and is CEO of McVey Management Solutions in Chicago. For videos and articles containing more of McVey's tips and tricks on issues relating to veterinary personnel management, conflict, and communication, visit http://dvm360.com/mcvey.