Are You Ready for Teamwork?
Creating a successful team orientation will only succeed to the level the leadership of the practice is capable and willing
to change its past behavior and management styles.
Leadership undermining the team is the most common reason for teamwork failure.
There is an I in Teamwork?
Individuals need to
Take personal responsibility
Establish a purpose
Work Group vs. Team (see article by K. Ruby referenced below)
Work groups are "co-workers who work together, but do not necessarily collaborate in the completion of their job duties."
A team is "made up of a group of individuals united in their professional purpose, values, and vision, who understand that
their success depends on their ability to collaborate."
What Sets a Team Apart?
A Team Task
Achieved through a clear vision, purpose and mission
Achieved through job descriptions and duties and roles that each individual plays
Achieved through Standards and Critical Pathways
Manage their own work processes
Achieved through training and accountability
Stable Group of Members
Achieved through appropriate hiring and retention
Building an Effective Team Will Not Work in Your Veterinary Practice Unless you Make the Commitment to
• Have very regular, uninterrupted, effective team or staff development meetings.
o Once each week, four hours each week, practice is closed during meetings.
• Involve every staff member at all times, not only with participation, but also with responsibility, accountability and empowerment.
• Effectively develop leadership behavior in others by exhibiting leadership behavior personally consistently, in positive
and motivational ways.
• Create a unified belief system within the team; vision, mission, purpose.
5 Ingredients for a Team
Focus on Results
Learning to Manage Conflict
Conflict touches everyone. There is no escaping it. Conflict makes some people so uncomfortable that they would do anything
to avoid it. That's because conflict between people often makes it appearance through angry words, and emotional and loud
voices. In teams, conflict comes with the territory. Whenever a diverse group of people come together to work as a team toward
a common goal, their ideas about how to get things done are going to be different. There will be conflict. Successful teams
recognize the value of bringing different opinions to the table, and they manage the resulting conflict.
Trust Makes Conflict Work
When team members trust each other, the inevitable and expected conflict among team members becomes an opportunity to foster
new thinking and creative ideas. Without trust, conflict can disable a team's progress toward its goals. Maintain Trust by
following these few things:
• Consistently meet commitments: Do what you say you will do.
• Bring reliable information to the team: You can build trust when what you are talking about is based upon facts, experience
• Demonstrate skills at whatever it is you do. Team members tend to trust people who are competent.
• Show a sincere interest in the views, talents, and involvement of other team members. One of the qualities of a team is
the blending of unique talents. People trust team members who show an interest in them.
• Make balanced judgments that attempt to account for the differences among the team. As team members mature and grow used
to working together, individuals seem to drop extreme viewpoints and think almost as a group.
• Support the team and its decisions to others. Team members earn the trust of others when they defend, explain, and otherwise
endorse the work of the team when it is challenged by others. To do otherwise – by bad-mouthing or second-guessing – undermines
The Veterinary Health Care Team: Going from Good to Great. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, Volume
37, Issue 1, Pages 19-35 K. RUBY