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Building positive workplace relationships

Good working relationships offer many benefits. Work is certainly more enjoyable when you feel that you are part of a happy team. We have a new fact sheet providing information about building positive workplace relationships and also what to do if things go wrong.

Just starting out?

If you are just starting out on your career, perhaps as a pre-registration trainee or newly qualified pharmacist this can all seem a little daunting. However there are things that you can do that will help you to build good working relationships throughout your life. You must be willing to listen to colleagues, communicate openly and show respect for all members of the pharmacy team.

Being a team player

Do bear in mind that no matter what your education, experience or job title may be, there will be a whole range of tasks in the pharmacy that need doing, some of which are more mundane than others. If you are new to a role take your turn in performing tasks such as emptying bins, date checking items from uncollected prescriptions and making tea. Showing willing with these tasks can go a long way to being an accepted part of the team.

What to do when things go wrong

Naturally, there are times when professional relationships do not develop in an appropriate manner. It is often the very trivial day-to-day tasks such as who used the last of the milk, whose turn it is to put the kettle on and who last emptied the bin that lead to resentment. The CPPE has produced a guide to resolving conflict that can help people to understand why conflict happens and what can be done to either prevent it from happening in the first place, or learning to manage such situations when needed.

Bullying and discrimination

Bullying and/or discrimination can have a devastating effect on the victim and seriously impact their health and mental wellbeing. It can lead to loss of self-confidence and self-esteem and feelings of anxiety, humiliation, frustration and anger. It can also give rise to sleep or eating disorders, depression, alcohol or drug abuse and even suicidal thoughts. It may result in absence from work and can severely damage both work and home life.

If you are being bullied or are being subjected to discrimination, do not suffer in silence, seek help:-

  • enlist the help of a colleague to mediate
  • contact your HR department
  • talk to a trade union representative
  • follow the employer’s internal grievance procedures
  • contact Pharmacist Support for specialist employment advice.

Inappropriate tutor/pre-registration trainee relationship

The pre-registration year is designed to help you to learn the many different skills you will need to become a qualified pharmacist. Occasionally, tutors will have to give trainees constructive criticism. It is helpful to try to use this as a valuable opportunity from which to learn. Being open and learning from previous mistakes will make you a better pharmacist.

Occasionally, tutors will behave in a manner that demonstrates disrespect for others or act in an unprofessional manner with regards to interpersonal contact. If this happens trainees should seek advice from the sources listed above as soon as possible.

For further information about building positive workplace relationships, including developing interpersonal skills, assertiveness and conflict management, see our How to build positive workplace relationships fact sheet.

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