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Team Building Portfolio
In this manual, I will talk about how important teamwork is in the Healthcare setting, and more importantly, how important teamwork is for Oak Healthcare Group in their three facilities in the southeast of the country.
This manual can be used by all 120 Oak Healthcare Group staff, in their various roles and locations, and will hopefully be of benefit to all the staff.
Teamworking enables a job to be accomplished quicker and more efficiently than if it was done alone. Working together can help reduce the workload for all the team members or employees, by enabling them to share the responsibilities or ideas. It can also help to reduce the work pressure on each team member, allowing them to be more thorough in completing their assigned tasks or goals.
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In the healthcare setting, teamwork is of paramount importance. In order for the client to receive the highest standard of care, they need a good multi-disciplinary team working for them. This team may consist of doctors, nurse, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and healthcare assistants.
On a normal day, the client may not have interaction with all the members of the multi-disciplinary team, but will come into contact with the nurses and the healthcare assistants. This team will ensure that all the daily needs of the client are met to the highest of standards. The nurses will look after any immediate medical needs of the client. The healthcare assistants will help the client with washing, dressing, moving, and anything else that they may need. It is important that this team works well together, giving person centred care to the client. A good team will also get through the work more efficiently.
2. Advantages and disadvantages of teamworking in an organisation
One of the main reasons companies have work teams, particularly in the healthcare setting, is to achieve a better standard of work, rather than if the healthcare assistant was working on their own. Having employees with different backgrounds and perspectives, discussing the pros and cons of alternative solutions, the best possible outcome tends to win out. Team members can work together to enhance the benefits of the best solution by continuing to work together to enact it. Along with better quality, a well-managed team often produces more results. Members of a team can hold each other accountable and drive each other to do more efficient work. When individual goals are set alongside team goals, the employees within work teams can create some friendly rivalry and use the peer pressure to influence and keep each other motivate. Advantages of a team in the healthcare setting mean that the client can be looked after better. Often a client may be difficult for one person to move on their own, being part of a team, even of just two people, means that both people can safely work with the client, keeping both the client and the healthcare assistants safety ensured, and the client gets the highest standard of care. These teams will share the work load as evenly as possible, using their strengths and weakness to provide optimum care for the client that they are working with.
There are however some disadvantages to working in teams in the healthcare setting. Some team members can have a tendency to sit back and let others do most of the work. This can cause resentment in the workplace, and may result in conflict, especially if the manager only recognises the achievements of the team and not the individual leaders. Some people do not function well as part of a team, preferring to work on their own, if the work environment requires working as a team to accomplish a task, these ‘loners’ should be screened out in the hiring process. Whenever a group of people is assembled to achieve a goal, there is some conflict likely to occur. Different personalities and ways of working, and some members may have difficulty accepting ideas that differ from their own. Peer pressure can also result in a team member going against his or her better judgement to escape the wrath of other members or to facilitate the completion of a project. (Teamworking in Healthcare, 2018)
There are many different types of teams in the healthcare workplace. Here are examples of some of them that you may come across:
Permanent Teams – these teams work together on a more permanent basis, they don’t dissolve once the task if finished, and continue to work together on other tasks within the workplace. They work extremely well together, and always manage to achieve their goals and targets well in advance. As they work so well together, the organisation will never get them to dissolve their team.
Temporary Teams – these teams are formed and only work together for the duration of the task. These teams are usually formed either to assist the permanent team, or work when the members of the permanent team are busy. They are also formed when the organisation has an excess of work, in order to assist the permanent team and get the job completed within the stipulated time.
Task Force – these teams are formed for a special purpose of working on a specific project or finding a solution to a very critical problem. The government generally appoints special teams to investigate critical issues like terrorist attacks, and the task force explores all the possible reasons which led to the problem and tries to resolve it within a deadline.
Organisation/Work Force – these groups are formed in organisations where team members work together under the expert guidance of a leader. The leader or supervisor is appointed among the team members themselves, and along with the team, they work hard to achieve a common goal. The leader stands by his team and extracts the best from each team member. He shouldn’t underestimate any of his team members and take his team along to avoid conflicts.
Virtual Teams – these teams consist of people who are separated by distances and connected through the computer. Individuals communicate with each other online through the internet. This is useful for teams working in different parts of the world as they can still work together to achieve a common goal.
The theorist, Dr. Meredith Belblin, studied team behaviour and structure for over 25 years. In his research, he identified nine key roles that impact on teams working together. He understood, that we as individuals have a natural tendency to assume particular roles, called traits, according to our personality and our way of thinking and behaving. Here is an example of five roles within a team:
Plant – these people are creative, somewhat imaginative and can be unorthodox at times. They are good at solving difficult problems. These type of people or team members, can ignore the little things, and can become too preoccupied with what they are doing to communicate effectively.
Resource Investigator – these team members are outgoing, enthusiastic, communicative. They explore new opportunities and develop new contacts. They can also be overly optimistic, and tend to lose interest after the initial enthusiasm has passed.
Teamworker – these people are co-operative, mild, perceptive and diplomatic. They listen, build, and avert attention from themselves. Then can also be quite indecisive when it comes to crunch situations, tending to stay on the fence rather than take sides.
Implementer – these people are disciplined, reliable, conservative and efficient. They turn ideas into practical actions. They can be very inflexible and are slow to respond to new possibilities and ideas.
Completer/finisher – these people are painstaking, conscientious and anxious. They search out errors and conclusions, polish and perfect the finished job. They can be inclined to worry unnecessarily and are reluctant to delegate the work. (ETB, 2018)
“A group’s efforts will be more than the sum of its parts”
It is important that a team can work well together, this will be more effective than if the members were to work by themselves. In a good team, there should be good communication. The team should share and understand the common aims and co-operate to achieve them. There are clearly defined tasks and responsibilities. The work is distributed fairly between the team, according to their skills and abilities. Individual strengths and weaknesses are acknowledged. Members of the team will support each other in times of stress. Respect each other’s views, beliefs, family background, individual circumstances and needs. Members are encouraged to contribute to planning, evaluation and making suggestions for new working methods.
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When a team doesn’t work well together, it is unlikely to achieve its aims. Unresolved conflict or a breakdown in communication can lead to sniping about other team members. Cliques and groups forming within the team. Team members can develop fantasies or paranoia about other team members. This in turn can lead to stress, dissatisfaction, absenteeism and unreliability. In any situation, where there is a group of people working together as a team, there will more than always be a difference of opinions. Not all the team members will want to co-operate with the team leader, wanting to work by themselves rather than be part of the team. This makes being a team leader difficult, and can also cause conflict within the team as other members won’t like the way this person is behaving. There may be an absence of team identity, when members don’t feel mutually accountable to one another for the team’s main goals. This can cause a lack of commitment and effort, and conflict between the team goals, members, person goals or a poor collaboration within the team. Some team members may stand firm to their positions during decision making, repeating their arguments instead of introducing new information.
Team members can interrupt or talk over one another, or there may be a consistent silence from some members during team meetings, giving a false consensus in that everyone says they agree even if they don’t. Heightened tensions and team members making personal attacks or aggressive gestures can make if almost impossible to resolve and conflicts. A lack of participation when team members fail to complete their work load, or fail to attend team meetings, or just have low energy during meetings. The team is unwilling or unable to consider alternative ideas or approaches, lacking critical thinking and debate over ideas. Leaders can fail team by not defining a compelling vision for the team, not delegating or not representing multiple constituencies. (Psychology, 2018). (Teamworking Healthcare, 2018)
When there is more than one team working towards the same goal, issues can arise. Some of these may include one team feeling that the other isn’t doing the same amount of work, or pulling their weight, towards achieving the same goal.
In a healthcare setting such as The Oak Healthcare Group, teams have to work together to help their residents with their activities of daily living. If one team is working with people that are relatively mobile and independent, and the other are working with people that are very high dependency, being unable to do anything for themselves, and this can often mean that the first team have achieved their quota long before the second team. This can sometimes cause resentment within the teams, as one team may feel that the other isn’t working as hard as them.
Successful business owners believe that there are key principles that must be acknowledged and followed to ensure that success of their organisation. Steve Zanini outlines some of these key principles in his video “Principles of Team Development”
Some of these principles include:
- Focus on common goals, it’s important that everyone on the team knows what the end goal is. This forms the foundation for the team to build from, and gives them an objective to work towards.
- Everyone knows their results, all the team members must know the results at any given time. People have to be aware of where they stand in relation to their goals. If the lost sight of where they currently are, and how far they are from the finish line, it’s easy to come up short or miss a deadline.
- Everyone has a role and understands what they are. Each team member has their part to play in ensuring the team is successful. If a member doesn’t know what they have to do, the machine breaks down and they never reach the finish line.
- Communication is fast, direct and accurate. It does nothing for information to be withheld or not made available immediately for the team so they can adjust accordingly and either maintain or adjust their action plan. For that reason, all communication must be made available quickly, it must be direct so to avoid any confusion, and it has to be accurate and free of any assumption.
- The learning from this information must be replaced. To take information and do nothing with it will lead to the demise of any organisation. When learning occurs it must be implemented and put into action to make sure opportunity is not lost.
8. Stages of team development
B.W. Tuckman studied and researched the way groups of people develop together. He analysed the different stages of development of a team, and labelled each stage according to what was going on. These five stages are:
The newly formed team depends on its leader for guidance and direction. There is little agreement on the aims of the team yet, apart from what the team leader says. Individual team roles and responsibilities are unclear. The leader has to be prepared to answer a lot of questions about the team’s purpose, objectives and external relationships. Processes are often ignore. Team members try to test the tolerance of the system and the leader.
Team members are vying for position within the group, this means that decisions don’t come easily, as they attempt to establish themselves in relation to other team members. The leader will often receive challenges from the other team members. Small groups, cliques and factions may form within the group, and there may be power struggles. The team needs to be focused on it end goals in order to avoid becoming too distracted by relationships and personal issues.
The team is starting to achieve agreement and consensus. They respond well to facilitation by their leader. Roles and responsibilities are clear and accepted. Big decisions are made by group agreement, whereas smaller decisions may be delegated to individuals or small teams within group. Commitment and unity are strong. The team may engage in fun and social activities. The team discusses and develops its processes and working style. There is general respect for the leader, and some of the leadership is more shared out by the team.
The team is more strategically aware, it knows clearly why it is doing what it is doing. The team has a shared vision and is able to stand on its own feet with no interference or participation from the leader. There is a focus on over-achieving goals, and the team makes most of the decisions against criteria agreed with the leader. The team has a high degree of autonomy. Disagreements occur but now they are resolved within the team positively, and necessary changes to processes and structure are made by the team. The team is able to work towards achieving the goal, and also to attend to relationship, style and process issues along the way. Team members look after each other. The team requires delegated tasks and projects from the leader. The team does not need to be instructed or assisted. Team members might ask for assistance from the leader with personal and interpersonal development.
The team has the job finished. They have learned to work well together, and appreciate each other. The organisation has also learned from the teamworking experience. (Business Balls, 2018)
9. Team leadership and successful teams
Being a team leader is not an easy task. A leader has to be able to balance maintaining work relationships alongside meeting deadlines. They also have to walk a difficult boundary line between friendship and authority within the team. A good team leader needs to be able to solve problems, no matter how large, complex, or easy that they may be. They should be able to make tough decisions, even if it means adding to the work load. They should have an accurate assessment of the situation, all possible outcomes, and what choice will work best for the company.
Good communication skills are vital in a team leader, especially in the healthcare setting. Along with being able to communicate with the team about their decisions, they should be able to discuss any sensitive issues with the team without the situation becoming awkward or demanding. Leaders need to be masters of both written and verbal communication, knowing when each method is appropriate.
A good team leader should be honest and open with their team members. A team member should be able to bring any issues that they may have to the team leader, and feel comfortable in doing so. It is also important that a good team leader has a positive outlook, this can have a huge impact on the team, as they will pick up on the team leaders’ mood.
Being confident is very important as a good team leader will have to make decisions and communicate with the team, even if things aren’t going well within the team. When a team sees a confident leader, they don’t question the way the project is going. A team leader should lead by example, and be able to inspire their team to achieve the highest possible outcomes. They should also delegate the work load efficiently, making sure that every does their part towards the final goal.
A good team leader will in turn make for a successful team. They will set clear objectives, and include all the team members, recognising their various skillsets and abilities and using them to the best of the teams’ advantage. Any conflict should be embraced, dealt with, and used to move the team forward towards a happier working relationship. (HR Magazine, 2018)
The term ‘feedback’ is used to describe the helpful information or criticism about prior action or behaviour from an individual, communicated to another individual or team who can use that information to adjust and improve current and future actions and behaviours.
Feedback is very important in a healthcare team. A good team leader or manager, should be able to give constructive feedback to the team, or an individual member when it is necessary, and not make the team, or member feel like they’re doing wrong, but rather encourage them to do better than before. In the case of negative feedback, it should only really be used if the person/team receiving it have made a really big mistake, and/or put their own safety or that of the client that they’re working with into jeopardy.
Alternatively, a good team leader should praise their team when they are doing well. This will make the team more positive and encourage them to work even harder as their achievements are being recognised and they feel appreciated in the work place.
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