Full disclosure: This is what happens on a toxic team


Full disclosure: This is what happens on a toxic team

Startling data proves that there is a link between toxic veterinary team angst and the care patients receive. Read these tell-all tales from veterinary professionals who've been there and have seen the very worst.
Jan 31, 2017
By dvm360.com staff

What's all this noise about toxic teams? Get all the info you need by clicking this logo. An overwhelming majority—92 percent, to be precise—of veterinarians, practice owners, practice managers, technicians, receptionists and assistants say they have worked on a toxic team, according to the 2017 Toxic Teams survey* we conducted recently.

Now, we can all agree that the overwhelming majority of veterinary professionals only want the absolute best for their patients—the best treatment, the best care and the best possible experience at the veterinary hospital.

But we must also be honest: How can you possibly offer the best care if you're distracted or emotionally hijacked by the people you work with?

The bitter truth is, you can't. Worse yet? You know it.

Sixty-six percent of survey respondents say that their toxic team affected patient care, and 34 percent acknowledged that pets actually suffered because of a toxic team. In the pages that follow, we bring you 100-percent authentic testimonials, verbatim, from our survey, when we asked what a toxic team does to the care patients receive.

Let's be clear: This is by no means an indictment of the profession. (Believe us, we know you all have it hard enough.)

But it is our ultimate job at dvm360 to shine a light on the profession, in all its flawed beauty, in hopes that you will be inspired to make difficult changes—speaking up, working on your conflict resolution skills, even quitting your job—especially when something as important as patient care is at stake.

Read on, with fair warning: Some of the material contained in this article is troubling. 

Next: Making clients wonder, patients seen as "a job" and inaccuracy ....

*The 2017 dvm360 Toxic Teams Survey was sent to subscribers of dvm360, Vetted and Firstline. The survey generated 776 responses, creating a margin of error of about 4 percentage points.

Next: Leaving the clinic short-handed, unmonitored patients and clients that stay away ...

Next: Inappropriate language, bad apple employees and conflicting instructions ...


Enough of this Toxic talk already.

I understand that there is a need to help people understand how to deal with personalities different from their own, but this continued talk of "Toxic" people or "toxic' teams has begun to allow for excuse making rather than learning to work along with those who differ from you.

In past human relations topics, we addressed "diversity." When diversity was achieved, we turned our attention to "tolerance" for those diverse coworkers. Now that we are tired of "tolerating" anyone different from us, we label them "Toxic."

It is time we stop using this dirty word, "toxic." Use of that term gives rise to a whole new level of excuse making. It allows people to shift the blame for an inefficient team to someone else.

The formula for success will never change:
Do your very best.
Mind your own business!!
Don't compare yourself to others. We are each on our own learning curve.
If something needs to be done, DO IT ! (don't worry about who didn't do it.)
Learn, rather than being defensive when you are instructed.
Understand that each person has their own strengths and weaknesses.
Help others and Accept help from others.
Don't blame your shortcomings on other "toxic" people.

Did I mention? "DO YOUR VERY BEST !!" without regard to how others are performing.

Re: Enough of this Toxic talk already.

Sandra, I get what you're saying. People SHOULD strive to do their very best, and minding one's own business can help to decrease interpersonal conflicts among co-workers. However, I feel like you are using the words "toxic" and "diverse" interchangeably, when they are completely different states of being. Diversity is inherent, no one person is exactly the same as the other. Toxicity in a workplace is an issue in how those diverse groups of people act and comport themselves. If you have a poor attitude and an unprofessional manner, that is toxic, and it shouldn't be tolerated. Tolerance of other's differences with respect to ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, etc. is one thing, but tolerating behavior that causes dysfunction amongst co-workers and potentially leading to poor care for patients is not ok. Toxicity is something that should absolutely be corrected.