Managing Disruptive Employees in a Medical Office: 9 Behaviors to Watch

Posted by Practice Management Institute on Sep 28, 2020 8:00:00 AM
Practice Management Institute

You didn’t sign up to play referee or counselor to adults that don’t get along. But personality conflicts and unprofessional behavior in the workplace should not be taken lightly. It can destroy your medical office productivity, morale, and send good employees packing.

Don’t let bad behavior get swept under the rug; it will only escalate. When you know what to look for and how to address it head on, you can keep disruptions from getting in the way at work. Successful conflict management requires identification, understanding, and action. Here are nine examples of disruptive behavior and tips for addressing each type of conflict.  

9 Disruptive Behaviors to Manage

The Abrasive Employee

An abrasive employee uses intimidation to annoy people and establish dominance. To diffuse this behavior, take the individual behind closed doors. Keep continuous eye contact, calmly state your counterpoint, and hold your ground.

1. The Interrupter

A dominant type of person may tend to monopolize conversations, speaking over others. Try gently reaching out to hold his or her arm while you finish a thought. If that does not work, shake your head or frown in obvious annoyance until the individual stops. Use phrases like, “Please let me finish,” or “I don’t want to lose my train of thought,” or “I have something important to say, please don’t interrupt me.”

2. The Complainer

A chronic complainer is toxic in many ways. This behavior tends to create cliques, decrease motivation, and inhibit innovation. It causes anxiety and can affect our health. Don’t sympathize with a complainer, it only fuels them. Instead involve them in a possible solution by having them document the complaint with a suggested solution. This involves them in fixing what ails them.

3. The Sarcastic Employee

Rolling eyes, audible sighs, and quips are all subtle ways that people relay dissatisfaction. Give this person your ear and try to get to the root of their discontent. If they can’t articulate the problem, point out the sarcastic behavior you observed (some people may not even realize they are doing it), and tell them it is unproductive, offensive, and will no longer be tolerated.

4. The Negative Employee

It can be demoralizing when your team does not all get behind an idea or plan. If you have an employee that sees problems with everything, don’t waste time trying to convince them an idea will work. Instead, hear out their grievances and make your decision.

5. The People-Pleaser

People-Pleasers tend to be fickle, unreliable, and temperamental, often at the expense of their own needs or desires. If this individual is responsible for a project, you will need to keep a close eye on them to ensure instructions are followed and to provide them with the validation they need to complete the project.

6. The Troublemaker

Troublemakers are toxic in the workplace. If this person is a key performer, you should get to the bottom of the issues to determine if he or she can be retained in the workplace with behavior modification. You can gain the employee’s trust and respect by showing you want to resolve the issue. For chronic malcontent, termination may be the only solution.

7. The Freeloader

Freeloaders tend to take credit for others work. Teamwork is compromised with these employees who are all talk and no action. Help a freeloader recognize their own lack of performance by documenting their work in a productivity work log and reporting their progress in weekly meetings.

8. The Silent Employee

Silent employees can be solid work performers but never seem to voice their opinion. You can draw them out by asking them to elaborate on a project or process that they are responsible for. Help them succeed by giving instructions, summarize your main points to ensure you have been heard and understood.


Learn more about Management & Leadership for the Medical Office: employee relations, practice administration, compliance, financial management, and managed care delivery system.

Topics: Practice management, CMOM, PMI Certification, Certified Medical Office Manager, medical office, medical office manager topics, cmom certification, difficult personalities

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