Building And Leading Teams
Good team building in healthcare occurs when all team members understand, believe in, and work toward the common goal of caring for and working for patients. This sense of common purpose should never be taken for granted. Team leaders should discuss it at every opportunity and ensure that all team members work toward it in their daily tasks. All teams go through various stages of development, but they are most productive when there is openness, and trust and members work to their strengths. Team leaders should create a teaming strategy to plan how people will act and collaborate, including how they will use communication technology to better use face-to-face time.
Here are nine strategies for establishing a solid nursing team.
1. Don’t try to rush things.
Good nursing relationships, like Rome, were not built in a day. It takes time to get to know your teammates’ personalities and build rapport.
Trying to rush things can make your working relationships extremely awkward. It may even backfire ultimately. (HINT: There’s a reason people despise icebreaker games.)
Begin by grabbing lunch or coffee with a couple of coworkers. Then, from there, build relationships.
2. Encourage consistent and clear communication.
Good communication is the foundation of any solid and successful team, whether it’s a marriage or a nursing unit. When communicating with coworkers, whether written or verbally, always strive to be clear and understandable. Encourage them to contact you for clarification if necessary. Make it a point to show that you are willing to answer legitimate questions.
3. Encourage openness as well as trust.
It can be challenging to strike a balance between these two essential characteristics. On the one hand, you want your nurses to feel at ease discussing sensitive issues like unfair workplace treatment or complex patients. This will aid you in developing solutions together.
On the other hand, you don’t want the culture to be so open that gossip spreads quickly. This will erode trust and make people feel like they can’t say anything if the entire hospital knows.
Your nurses will look to you as a nurse manager to set the tone for the unit. So, do your best to be open and honest with your employees (when appropriate). And no matter how tempting it may be, avoid spreading rumors.
4. Make sure that roles are clearly defined.
If it’s everyone’s fault, it’s no one’s fault. Either the task will not be completed because everyone believes it is being conducted by someone else, or the same few overachievers will end up picking up the slack, eventually burning out from all the extra work and possibly hanging up their scrubs for good as a result.
To avoid this scenario, ensure that roles are clearly defined and that everyone understands their role and how to perform it. It all comes back to clear communication: Broadcasting role expectations keep nurses from having to guess what their job is or what their supervisors want.
5. Do not sweep disagreements under the rug.
Conflict resolution can be messy, dramatic, and emotionally draining. It can be easier to sweep things under the rug rather than confront the issue head-on.
Ignoring conflicts, on the other hand, will only lead to bigger fights in the future. And this can lead to simmering tensions that impair the quality of nurses’ work. If you have a problem with a coworker, try to resolve it with them instead of involving a supervisor, at least at first.
If you are the boss, encourage your employees to speak up for themselves and discuss issues calmly and maturely. However, make it clear that you are willing to act as a third-party mediator if they cannot resolve the conflict independently.
6. Learn from your mistakes.
No matter how experienced, every nurse will make a mistake at some point in their career. Rather than punishing or shaming them for their error, try to figure out why it happened. More importantly, look for ways for your team to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
Put yourself in their nursing shoes and practice empathy. How many mistakes have you made while working as a nurse? Every blunder is an opportunity to learn. Remember that nurses will not improve unless someone gently points out where they went wrong and shows them the proper way to do things.
7. Participate in both success and failure.
People in teams frequently vie for credit for a successful project. When something goes wrong, they point the finger at everyone else. When it comes to working in groups, however, it is rare for only one person to take credit or blame. The same holds when a team is a nursing unit.
Demonstrate this to your team by participating in both their successes and failures. When something goes wrong, don’t throw anyone under the bus. After all, they’re probably watching you to see how they should behave.
8. Keep in mind that no one is perfect.
Every nurse, including yourself, cannot provide 100 percent perfection all of the time. There will be errors. Life gets in the way, and people cannot keep previous agreements.
Encourage your team to be forthright when this occurs. The sooner people know what’s going on, they can devise a plan of action.
Yes, it’s inconvenient when you can’t deliver on your promises. However, it happens to everyone, and postponing the inevitable will only worsen matters.
9. Recognize team members for genuine achievements.
People can tell when they are being complimented on something that isn’t a big deal. And they are well aware when they are not recognized for a well-done job.
Recognize your nurses when they go above and beyond, whether with a heartfelt “thank you” or by bestowing fun awards on members of your unit. Remember that this recognition will look different for each individual. Some people enjoy being applauded in front of the entire team, while others would rather receive a lovely card with little fanfare.
Building And Leading Teams
ideas for leaders on effective management of their healthcare team.