Valuing your role and others
Research carried out by the RCN has shown that good teams:
- are creative in the way they organise services
- make sound decisions
- respond effectively to sudden changes
- provide high-quality services to patients/clients.
But good teams don’t just ‘happen’. Sticking a group of people together doesn’t make them a ‘team’. Instead, good teams emerge over time through focusing on:
- developing a common purpose (in health care, high-quality patient/client care would be the team’s purpose)
- using the skills, talents and knowledge of everyone in the team to the best effect
- making sure everyone in the team is kept informed about what’s going on and has a say in any proposed changes
- setting realistic and achievable objectives that rely on contributions from all team members
- developing a ‘team spirit’ – if you like, a team ‘ethic’ – which develops a sense of everyone working together and everyone playing their part.
The basis for this kind of team emerging is everyone in the team understanding, respecting and valuing their own role in the team and the roles other members play. This means that every team member must be clear about:
- the boundaries of their role – what they can, and cannot, do
- how much freedom they have to make decisions
- who they can delegate activities to, and who delegates activities to them
- how their performance will be assessed – what are they main things they are expected to do?
- where they can turn to for advice, support and supervision
- the boundaries to their freedom to be creative and use their initiative
- how they will be supported to grow and develop as a person and a worker in the team.
Many of the challenges in team working we mentioned earlier come about because people in the team are not clear about these issues. They don’t fully understand what they should be doing, nor do they understand what other team members should be doing. This is the kind of atmosphere in which conflict can bloom. So by being clear about your role and the role of others, you’ll be doing a lot to reduce any tensions in the team.
Listen to this audio clip of how much a doctor and practice nurse value the role of the HCA in their team and how they miss her when she goes away on holiday.
A useful RCN document is ‘The nursing team: Common goals, different roles’ [PDF file 79.5KB].