My team consists of seven people: three regional coordinators, three administrators and me. I am incredibly proud of the team and everything we have achieved together. They are amazing people and each of them brings something unique, something special to the team. Breaking Through would not be Breaking Through without them. We have been a team for just under a year but I believe we are a tight and cohesive group. Teams that are high energy are so important. Without a driven and resilient team that’s moving in the same direction it would take so much longer to hit objectives or to have any impact at all. The new NHS needs to have highly productive teams that can deliver successfully on a very difficult agenda.
So what makes a great team? I believe it’s several things (and this is just my view).
- Everyone understanding the direction of travel and sharing the vision – but more than that, actually wanting to go in that direction and believing it’s the right way to go.
- Having difference in the team. Every member of my team brings something uniquely different to the party and it is that diversity that makes a difference.
- The ability to work hard and go over and beyond the call of duty. There isn’t a single member of the team who won’t go the extra mile.
- Genuinely caring for each other and the team itself.
- Flexibility, tolerance, openness and honesty.
- And of course good, high quality, confident leadership.
I’m sure you’ll agree that what I’ve described is the crème de la crème of teams. Let’s be honest most people are not lucky enough to work in teams like that, at least not all the time. I have worked in and led many teams in the NHS and can attest to the fact that lots of energy goes into trying to make teams function as a unit; sometimes the poor manager/leader has to deal with dissent, disagreements, dissatisfaction and disobedience or all of these at the same time. It is hard work moulding and motivating a team to be successful, sometimes the skills it takes to do this go unrecognised or unappreciated.
So you can imagine how grateful and thankful I am that I have such a high quality productive team. The interesting thing with a team that is so cohesive is what happens when a new member joins. If the new member assimilates and becomes part of the team quickly, understanding the culture, the do’s and the don’ts, what’s acceptable and what’s not, then all is well with the world and productivity remains high. However, if the new member does not fit and does not want to integrate, or worse than that the team does not want to welcome the new member in, then the dynamic can be very different.
On reflection, this is where the quality of a good leader needs to come to the fore. It is incumbent on them to work out how to help the newcomer become a fully functioning and integral part of the team. In my experience this is easier said than done but done it must be. The sum of the parts is greater and stronger than the individual units, therefore enabling the team to continue delivering whilst ‘storming and norming’ is the leader’s priority.
In the coming months, many of us will be joining new teams or have new members joining our teams. Let’s remember what it’s like to be a new member of a team and help to support the individual to settle, in the hope that if we join a new team, colleagues in that team will make the effort to support us to fit in and become the best we can be.