Management Monday: Teams

When I ask practices what is important to keep things running smoothly, they invariably mention teamwork. However, when I ask them to define what that is, they struggle to be precise.

If you want your practice staff to be a true team, these are the elements you need:

Leader: Someone must have ultimate responsibility for the results of the team’s efforts. While every team member contributes to the result, the team leader has to ensure that the eventual goal is reached. In a team situation, it’s easy for nobody to feel responsibly because there are so many people involved, so one leader must take this

Roles: As well as the leader, it is important for every team member to know what part they play. While they may not have ultimate responsibility, if they are in charge of producing a progress report and they don’t do it, the rest of the team’s work will have less value as a result. Everyone must complete their share of the work.

Goals: Having specific goals makes a world of difference to the eventual success of any team. It’s no good saying something like, “We want our practice to be more welcoming to patients” because you can interpret this in many ways and believe you have succeeded without the need for much evidence. “We want to increase patient numbers by 10%” is far more quantifiable so you can clearly see when you have succeeded, and you can try different methods to reach your goal.

Equality: All team members should share their resources, and nobody should be allowed to feel more important than others. There is no place for big egos in a team, and equally selfishness with any resources (including time) undermines the team ethic.

Communication: When you’re working closely together, it’s easy to forget to tell everyone else what you’re doing – you assume they know. Regular communication is vital to the success of any team, whether it’s through informal means (eg a quick chat or an email) or formal, such as a weekly team meeting.


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