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Best Practices for Teamwork

In: Business and Management

Submitted By mrkevbrown1
Words 896
Pages 4
Best Practices in Team Interactions
Kevin L. Brown

Teams in health care take many forms. For example, there are disaster response teams; teams that perform emergency operations, hospital teams caring for acutely ill patients, office-based care teams, and teams that care for homebound patients to name a few, Teamwork is an essential component of any successful organization. In today’s healthcare environment, it is important that managers implement a system that is conducive to producing effective teamwork. When employees understand the value of working together and the benefits that it brings to the company, they are more likely to embrace group efforts and collaborative approaches to problem solving. This paper will examine the best practices and behaviors that support effective team interactions. Health care leaders are tasked with gathering and uniting individuals into a cohesive, high functioning unit able to solve complex problems. Great teams do not happen by chance, they are developed through training and time invested. However, each team is unique, and vary in size, scope and objectives. Regardless of their specific tasks, or settings, effective teams are guided by basic principles that can be not only measured, but also analyzed, learned and replicated. In 1965, Bruce Tuckman introduced Tuckman’s model for group process. This model outlines the six steps necessary for developing an effective team. The steps that comprise this model are informing, forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. The informing stage the teams views each other as stranger. In many groups, “forming” is the stage when some members express their desire not to stay in the group as members. Others may express their ambivalence about becoming part of the group and, if given the opportunity to dropout, may leave. (Seck, 2014) The norming stage is where team members begin to feel part of the team and realize that they can achieve work if they accept others viewpoints. After the norming stage is the performing stage. In this stage team work is performed in an open and trusting environment. It should also be noted that by the time the performing stage is reached, hierarchy is of little importance. The last phase of Tuckman’s model is adjourning. It is in this stage the focus of the team is completion of the assigned task. Additionally, the team will evaluate their accomplishments and the group will be dissolved. Although teams are groups, the group that makes of up a team is comprised of individuals. In order for the team to be successful, each individual is expected to possess the integrity and responsibility to complete the task assigned to him or her by the agreed upon deadlines. Accountability, both as a group as well as individually, is essential for the success for the group. Group members should reach a consensus on as well as implement consistent and timely feedback on work progress that include both successes and failures. One frequently used method of holding employees accountable for their work is employee performance reviews. Employees should be graded on how well they achieved individual performance goals, as well as their contributions to group performance goals. Another measurement employees are evaluated on is ethics. Ethics deals with values relating to human conduct with respect to the rightness and wrongness of actions and the “goodness” and “badness” of motives. Ethics in the health field can further be defined as a set of moral principles and rules of conduct for health professionals to follow. (Ledlow, 2014)

One of the most important factors to effective team collaboration is communication. Communication within the team is an ever evolving process, and can be formal such through scheduled meetings, or written reports. Conversely, communication within the team can be informal, such as through emails, phone calls, or text messaging. The quality of communication within a team can be defined in terms of the frequency, formalization, structure, and candidness of the exchange of information. Authors Pinto and Pinto (1990) assert that it is the informal, spontaneous communication that has been shown to be crucial to the work of teams with innovative projects because ideas and contributions can be shared, discussed, and evaluated with other team members more quickly and efficiently. A lack of openness within a team such as withholding important information hampers one of the most important functions of teamwork which is the integration of individual team members' knowledge and experience into the group’s common goal.
In order for a team to be successful, the team should have mutual goals that are clearly expressed, understood, and maintained by all members of the team. Moreover, teams must also have clear expectations for each team member’s role and responsibilities. Individual team members must have the discipline to carry out their roles and responsibilities, and adhere to the established deadlines. The most successful teams recognize the professional and personal contributions of all team members. Additionally, successful teams promote not only individual development but also team interdependence. Lastly, successful teams recognize the many benefits derived from working together and view accountability as a group responsibility.

References
Ledlow, G. C. (2014). Leadership for health professionals: Theories, skills, and applications. Burlington: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
Pinto, M. B. (1990). Project team communication and cross-functional cooperation in new program development. Product Innovation Management , 200-121.
Seck, M. M. (2014). Faculty Development of a Joint MSW Program Utilizing Tuckman's Model of Stages of Group Development. Social Work With Groups, 158-168.

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