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    Ryan Reaves
    Ryan Reaves

    This MGMA podcast episode features Sarah Ariaudo, MHA, an expert in mindful communication strategies for transforming toxic situations into positive and productive workplaces. Ariaudo shares insights from her own experiences in overcoming burnout while providing best practices she's seen that make a difference. Her conversation with MGMA Sr. Editor and podcast host Daniel Williams explored the importance of psychological safety in the medical workplace and highlighted the signs and effects of chronic low-level stress.  

    Identifying Toxic Cultures

    Ariaudo explains how toxic cultures develop from unaddressed chronic stress in both personal and professional lives. Leaders who don't model self-care inadvertently signal to their teams that self-care is unnecessary. Communication lapses can occur when leaders are too busy, which can damage trust and engagement among coworkers. Psychological safety is key so that workplaces can thrive in a while fostering a positive culture.

    Understanding Psychological Safety

    Psychological safety is the foundation of a healthy work environment. It refers to creating an atmosphere where individuals feel safe to express their thoughts, ideas, concerns and even mistakes without the fear of judgment or retribution. When employees feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to contribute their unique perspectives, engage in creative problem-solving, take calculated risks and provide valuable feedback. Psychological safety not only reduces stress levels, but it also nurtures employee well-being and enhances job satisfaction.

    Strategies for Promoting Psychological Safety

    Creating a culture of psychological safety requires intentional efforts from medical practice leaders. This involves leading by example in ways that cultivate a supportive work environment. This approach includes fostering open communication, providing feedback and recognition, establishing clear expectations and encouraging collaboration. Ariaudo shares how admitting limitations to her team allowed others to step up, which helped strengthen trust and engagement within the team.

    Self-care Practices to Promote Well-being

    Simple strategies like moving every 90 minutes, deep breathing and staying hydrated can provide clarity and improved mood throughout the workday. Prioritizing interests, rather than putting them off, can also support well-being in ways that enhance life and work satisfaction.


    This conversation provided useful insights for leaders to identify and address toxic elements in their work cultures while also caring for their own well-being as well as that of their teams. By prioritizing psychological safety, leaders can empower their team members, enhance collaboration and innovation, and ultimately improve the overall well-being and performance of the practice. Creating an environment where individuals feel safe to express themselves fosters a culture of trust and sets the foundation for long-term success.

    Let us know if there's a topic you want us to cover or an expert you would like us to interview or if you'd like to appear on the member spotlight podcast. Email us at If you have a question for our Sr Advisor Cristy Good, email

    Ryan Reaves

    Written By

    Ryan Reaves

    Ryan Reaves is content coordinator at MGMA. He is a seasoned content professional with a background in both community journalism and sports apparel eCommerce. Ryan is skilled in proofreading, image editing, and writing online content in a fast-paced environment. At MGMA, Ryan develops and edits content for books, podcasts and consulting.

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