Taking Things Personally at Work

Do you ever leave your healthcare job feeling deflated and mentally drained at the end of the day? Working in any fast-paced medical setting can have many stressful moments, often leading to emotional distress and turmoil for professionals. However, to truly succeed, healthcare professionals must learn how to handle conflict effectively, work well with others and embrace constructive criticism. Learning how not to take things personally on the job is much easier said than done, but with the right strategies, here’s how you can shift your attitude:

Disarm and acknowledge others’ points of view. When approached by your boss or co-worker with a derogatory or potentially accusatory statement, it’s best to avoid getting defensive. Rather than immediately respond to defend yourself, take a minute to understand what the other person is saying and acknowledge their viewpoint. While you do not need to agree with them, it’s important they know you’ve listened and understand what they have to say. You are then setting the stage for a two-way dialogue in which you respond with your own thoughts and engage the other person in a meaningful conversation. Taking this two-way approach will provide an opportunity for both parties to express themselves and to come to a resolution together, rather than one person feeling left angry or resentful.

Don’t expect others to read your mind. Keeping things inside and letting negative thoughts fester is a surefire way to let your emotions get the best of you for no reason. If you’re unhappy about something at work, you can’t simply expect others to know how you feel. Exhibiting strong verbal communication is key to expressing thoughts or concerns in the workplace, and most importantly, earning the respect of your boss and co-workers. If you find yourself upset about a situation or circumstance, take the time to make the individual(s) involved aware so they understand how you feel.

Commit to learning. Though feedback from your boss can sometimes feel like a personal attack, it’s important to remember that every piece of criticism presents an opportunity to learn and grow. Committing yourself to learning on the job will help you better understand your mistakes and how to improve moving forward. By being more open to your own growth, you will be less personally affected by others’ feedback and instead use it as fuel for your own development.

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