Working in healthcare is never dull, and there are many barriers to building and executing a consistent team development strategy. Many of us feel like someone or something needs our attention every minute of every shift of every day. Then, there are the emergencies and decisions that need to be tended to “right now.” There is a continuous stream of competing priorities we must encounter every day. Work-life balance? Who has the time!
Does any of this sound familiar? Pause for a moment to think about your workplace and team.
If you want to lead a team that works well together, feels challenged (in good ways), completes their work, and achieves goals, then building a team development strategy is essential. When your team is undeveloped, it’s obvious—and painful for everyone.
So what makes a team development strategy so important? Team members need to know that their leader and peers are reliable and have their backs. Without intentional work at teambuilding, trust and reliability will take longer to develop and stabilize. Strengthening your team will also help to prevent the formation of alternative alliances or cliques. When this occurs, it creates another barrier within the existing barriers, making it even more difficult to break down.
Fostering feelings of trust and reliability is particularly important in times of change. Without it, team members may struggle with change, be slow to adopt it, or simply ignore the change completely. Some team members might verbally challenge what is happening or others in authority, making the whole team look bad.
An intentional team development strategy is important for achieving a place of open and honest dialogue, which won’t happen if the level of trust needed isn’t there. Think about performance input and coaching sessions. These are difficult enough to get through whether the session is needed to work through a performance challenge or simply a required performance planning session (such as an annual review). Without a sense of trust, these conversations become even harder.
In the healthcare setting, your team members are used to continually operating at peak efficiency. Over time, this takes a toll, both physically and emotionally. When the team doesn’t get a break from the day-to-day routine and have an opportunity for reframing, reforming, and reprioritizing, levels of stress-related behaviors—such as more absenteeism and illness, interest in job change, higher rate of team member turnover, and loss of purpose—will increase.
Healthcare is largely directive—much of the work relies on a person’s ability to give and receive orders with little-to-no discussion, which is necessary when dealing with emergent situations in which the ability to react will save a person’s life. However, these behaviors don’t nurture a team or its members. Developing a team into a cohesive unit takes intention and a whole other set of skills, which need to be developed through practice and intention.
Let’s explore some ways you might transcend the barriers and achieve success in developing your team:
Start developing deeper levels of team development by: