Does it ever seem like there is more “scheme” work than teamwork in your healthcare organization? Are your folks working in silos? I receive so many calls asking for help to improve teamwork in organizations. There seems to be a constant theme of tell tale signs when teamwork isn’t working hospitals and medical offices. Want to fix the problems…

Before being hired by the CEO of a  medium sized health care facility last year, I asked him to tell me why he thought his employees weren’t working as a team. His first response was he constantly hears the bickering, the blaming, and the finger pointing from his nurses, physicians and even in the administrative departments. The poor team behavior was pervasive at all levels, even  his executive staff. He didn’t have the time nor want to handle all the nonsense.

What impact was this having  in the organization? On the financial side – profits were down, the people side- performance was mediocre,  while most importantly, on the customer service side – negative patient surveys were increasing. No wonder profits were down!

Management should consider these  critical MUST DO’s  for teamwork performance  to improve.

  • The entire staff must know, believe, and live the company’s clearly defined vision/mission,  while demonstrating the behaviors necessary to uphold the values which drive a successful company. Where are we going? Why are we going there? How will we get there?  How will we know when we get there?
  • Establish TEAM goals – not just individual and department goals. Link employee recognition, bonuses and promotions to the achievement of  team goals.
  • Communicate-communicate- communicate. Don’t just inform people. Rather, engage  them in the communications to elicit better ideas so they want to have ownership in improving results.
  • Favoritism, whether perceived or real, can not be tolerated at any level of management. Avoid taking sides by ensuring employees know you find value in everyone. Otherwise, why are they still working for you?  Hint: this is demonstrated by your behavior,  not just proclamation.
  • Good leaders know how to ask questions instead of always giving solutions.These is particularly important when an employee blames someone else for their own lack of performance.
  • Trust employees to do what is expected while mentoring them how to resolve issues amongst themselves. Don’t take their monkey and whatever you do- steer clear of micro managing.

Notice all of these critical aspects start with management – not employees. All the employee teamwork “training” in the world will not overcome poor leadership skills or management practices.

Need to improve teamwork? Determine what part you own in that and then involve your team in fixing it.

Share ways you think I could help people improve teamwork? What has worked for you?

Coach Nancy