How Leaders Can Promote Positive Relationships in the Medical Workplace

Research has shown that people spend as much or more of their waking hours doing work rather than engaging in personal activity. Positive relationships in their workplace will therefore improve their overall quality of life both within and outside the workplace. Positive work relationships are particularly critical in the turbulent healthcare industry, and every leader should try to cultivate positive relationships among all healthcare team members.

Do you want to know what you can do as a leader to improve employees’ work relationships in your healthcare organization? Are you interested in knowing how to improve interactions between coworkers and their superiors? Read on, and you will discover how to effectively forge stronger workplace relationships in your healthcare organization.

Improving Yourself

To start making positive changes in your workplace relationships, you need to start by improving yourself. This will help you in achieving your goals faster. The following are some areas that often need improvement if you plan to improve workplace interactions.


Successful leaders are confident people who take care of every situation with self-assurance and authority. Confidence is a skill you need to hone if you plan to improve workplace interactions. It provides you with the strength to accomplish your goals. Confidence in yourself will rub off on your patients and colleagues to make them more confident in your leadership and expertise.

Emotional Intelligence

Improving your emotional intelligence is one of the most critical channels to improve yourself as a leader. This involves self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship management. Your level of emotional intelligence directly affects your interaction with colleagues and patients. That’s why it is vital to improve your emotional intelligence.


Closely related to emotional intelligence, empathy is essential in improving workplace relations; empathy allows you to relate to, motivate, and deeply influence others, which is very important if you want positive relationship changes in your workplace. It also allows you to meet your coworkers with understanding. Your relationship with your coworkers will improve when they feel they are being understood.

To improve your empathy, take time to study how you feel and how that might affect your interactions with others. As you “step outside” of yourself to objectively watch yourself becoming more aware of your subjective feelings, use this understanding to improve your capacity to understand the feelings of others. Gradually monitor yourself consciously reflecting on the understanding of yourself and the feelings of those around you.

Many leaders find concepts like emotional intelligence and empathy to be “soft and squishy” subjects not worthy of consideration as they can’t be quantitatively measured as clearly as revenues, profits, and other hard financial metrics.  This attitude, however, is both foolish and demonstrates poor business acumen.  Your colleagues, staff, and other team members are people with rich internal lives of their own, not robots, so pretending otherwise is to deny both reality and good business sense.

Improving Your Staff

To further improve workplace relations, upon starting your lifelong self-improvement journey, you need to work on motivating your staff toward self-improvement. The following are some powerful tips that can help you get your team in the right frame of mind to improve their relationships with each other.

Engage with Staff Members

When you work hand in hand with your staff, you gain their trust, and they’ll want you to guide them to improve their work. This is vastly more effective than commanding orders from on high. When you respect your staff’s views, ideas, and perspectives and offer them help when they need it, you will find it much easier to build stronger relationships with them.  By reciprocity, they will likewise want to build a stronger relationship with you, and if your relationship is properly tonally set as employer-employee, then they will naturally want to produce better work for you within the context of relational development.

Communicate Naturally

Try your best to make your communications with team members authentic, informal, and frequent. This will make the interactions between you and your staff natural and free of tension. Effective communication, i.e. understanding the emotions and intentionality behind spoken words, builds trust and respect between team members.

Encourage Employees to Build Relationships

Fostering open communication, trust, and respect between team members is essential to architecting a healthy work environment. Equally important is the ability of employees to form relationships outside of their immediate team so to improve the overall relations among all coworkers by building a network of positive team member interactions.  For example, the front desk staff must have strong relations with the billing team (to enhance their drive to capture accurate patient information on the frontend and reduce the billing team’s headaches) and with medical assistants (to enhance the workflow of patient throughput from the waiting area to the exam room). 

To inspire this development, encourage teams to know each other better via cross-training days, work-related activities, and work-sponsored non-work events, all the while learning to respect each other’s privacy and personal boundaries.  Also, encourage your staff to celebrate each other’s achievements and milestones so to uproot and upend jealousy, vindictiveness, and other such negative emotions that may be directed toward others’ promotions and accomplishments.


Building a positive community experience around employees’ internal lives within the workplace empowers them to individually express their authentic diverse selves while simultaneously crafting a powerful common thread of relational bonding.  This, in turn, creates a positive and uplifting work environment that directly results in more efficient task completion, better patient care, and greater employee and patient satisfaction.  This, of course, furthers practice growth by retaining employees, attracting top talent, and creating a loyal patient base that advocates for your practice and spreads the word about their experience throughout their community.