VITAL2019, America’s Essential Hospitals’ annual conference, covered a wide variety of topics important to essential hospital leaders. In this blog series, we’ll highlight key takeaways from popular sessions at the conference.

Does your team only communicate via post-it notes? This may be a symptom of a toxic team. In a VITAL2019 session, staff from association member Kings County Hospital Center, in Brooklyn, N.Y., identified signs of a toxic team and strategies for leadership to improve a toxic workplace. “Toxic Teams: Diagnosis and Treatment” offered several key takeaways from the session.

  1. All staff influence an organization’s culture. Presenters shared that there are influencers at every level of one’s organization, and culture is the responsibility of each level.

    “Team toxicity is when there are two teams when there should be one.”

  2. Take the time to listen to staff. The presenters outlined the team healing model which included a needs assessment, individual and joint conversations with staff, shared agreements, and evaluation and measurement. They explained how listening to staff helped them better understand what staff cared about and what changes they were willing to make to better the organization.
    "whenever you begin new projects and initiatives it's essential to address the underlying problem first"
  3. Identify toxic qualities when hiring. The presenters recommended adding behavioral interviewing to hiring practices to identify toxic qualities early. If hiring managers are not able to identify toxic qualities during hiring, it is very important to identify these qualities early before they become entrenched in the organization.


Read more VITAL2019 takeaways and stay tuned for the next post in our blog series, highlighting the population health education track.