Validate an idea with your own experience about research
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Discussion: Healthy Relationships in the Workplace

Healthy relationships form the basis for a positive workplace. When staff are engaged in their jobs, supported by one another, and feel a sense of security in their work, healthy relationships among staff members will flourish. Nurse managers can assess the workplace for healthy relationships by observing the interactions among staff members. Are trust, respect, and collegiality evident, or might some staff members display toxic or dysfunctional behaviors toward one another? When toxic or dysfunctional behaviors are evident even among the smallest cohort of staff, nurse managers must take steps to foster positive interactions. In fact, all other efforts to establish a positive workplace will likely fall short if they are not built on the foundation of healthy interpersonal relationships.

In this Discussion, you examine the interactions between employees at your current organization or one with which you are familiar. You also explore positive psychology, a theory of well-being that has helped many workplaces to increase positivity and foster healthy relationships among staff members.

To prepare

Review Chapter 2, "Cultivating the Leadership Relationship" in the course text, From Management to Leadership: Strategies for Transforming Health Care. Examine how leaders cultivate healthy relationships among all staff members.

Review the article, "Using Positive Psychology to Engage Your Staff during Difficult Times." How can positive psychology foster healthy workplace relationships and increase staff engagement?

Reflect on the interactions you see in your own organization or in one with which you are familiar. What relationships do you observe across different job categories, such as RNs, LPNs, techs, and nursing assistants? Do relationship disparities exist between shifts, departments, or members of different disciplines, such as nursing staff and physicians?

Identify environments where unhealthy relationships most commonly occur. What leadership strategies might you use to build healthy relationships among these specific staff members? Furthermore, how could you apply positive psychology to increase positivity in this environment?

Post an explanation of at least two leadership strategies you could implement to build healthy relationships among staff members in the workplace you selected. Cite specific examples in your explanation by identifying the staff members you would target and explaining how your strategies would foster healthy interactions among these staff members. In addition, suggest at least one positive psychology strategy you could employ to increase the ratio of positive to negative interactions in your workplace; explain your rationale.

Read a selection of your colleagues' responses and Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days using one or more of the following approaches:

Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.

Share a strategy your health care setting used to build healthy workplace relationships.

Provide additional insights into how positive psychology could help to increase positivity in a colleague's workplace.

Required Readings

Lussier, R. N., & Hendon, J. R. (2016). Human resource management: Functions, applications, & skill development (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Chapter 14, "Workplace Safety, Health, and Security" (pp. 526-558)

The authors analyze the many factors that contribute to and affect workplace safety. They provide techniques for stress management and how to handle violence in the workplace.

Manion, J. (2011). From management to leadership: Strategies for transforming health care (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Chapter 1, "Leadership: An Elusive Concept" (pp. 1-30)

Chapter 1 provides a thoughtful comparison between the functions of management and leadership. It highlights leadership best practices and leaders as change agents.

Chapter 2, "Cultivating the Leadership Relationship" (pp. 31-68)

This chapter explains how effective leaders cultivate healthy relationships with staff members. The author discusses key leadership characteristics as well as the four essential elements of a healthy leadership relationship: trust, mutual respect, support, and communication.

Chapter 4, "Communicating with Clarity" (115-179)

Chapter 4 describes the many aspects of communication and how each can affect relationships within the workplace. It includes common forms of miscommunication and tips for becoming a more effective communicator and listener.

Chapter 7, "Coaching and Developing Others" (pp. 295-307 only)

The selected pages from Chapter 7 examine the misconceptions many leaders have about individual motivations. The author discusses workplace and work-life factors that influence employee motivation.

Achor, S. (2012). Positive intelligence. Harvard Business Review, 90(1/2), 100-102.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article explores the theory that happiness precedes success. The author discusses three basic strategies that people can use to improve their mental well-being and performance at work.

Morse, G. (2012). The science behind the smile: Interview with Daniel Gilbert. Harvard Business Review, 90(1/2), 84-90.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

In this interview, Daniel Gilbert discusses how happiness affects productivity at work. He also explains what makes people happy and how people can achieve it.

Muha, T. M., & Manion, J. (2010). Using positive psychology to engage your staff during difficult times. Nurse Leader, 8(1), 50-54.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Muha and Manion address the vacancies left behind by aging baby boomers and a poor economy. Hospitals must create a positive work environment for the younger nurses who will fill those vacancies.

University of Pennsylvania. (2007). Positive Psychology Center. Retrieved from http://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/

At the Positive Psychology website, you can explore the foundations of the positive psychology movement.

Required Media

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Fostering a positive workplace. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 11 minutes.

Nurses can engage in many strategies that will motivate and foster happiness in their workers. This week's media reviews these strategies and highlights how nurses can encourage retention efforts in health care settings.

Optional Resources

Spreitzer, G., & Porath, C. (2012). Creating sustainable performance. Harvard Business Review, 90(1/2), 92-99.
Wilner, J. (2011, November). 5 ways positive psychology can improve the workplace [Web log post]. Retrieved from


The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. (2006). Authentic happiness. Retrieved from


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