The sixth item on our list is that “there is trust, teamwork, and cooperation, with high morale, motivation and enthusiasm.” That’s a pretty long list; and starting with trust is appropriate, because without that other organizational desiderata are unobtainable.
In healthcare, patients have to trust doctors and nurses, who also have to trust one another. (Nurses, by the way, are of all professionals the most trusted by the public.) In all organizations, leaders need to trust employees and vice versa.
Teamwork is based on trust and is an absolute requirement in the healthcare environment. In the operating room, results depend on the team trusting and cooperating with one another. Patient care is a team effort, with the patient being a member of the team; indeed, patient centered care is currently a watchword of best practices.
Cooperation between the various organizational units is equally important. The whole organization should work together as a team. Beyond that, there should be a partnership and cooperation between the healthcare organization and the community.
Trust, teamwork and cooperation in themselves produce positive morale and motivation, which in turn generate enthusiasm. When interactions between employees are positive and helpful, they become energized and enthusiastic. Organizations cannot be successful in their results if they do not create, promote and exemplify these norms.
The responsibility for achieving this result rests at all levels and in all places of the organization. But leadership behavior is crucial. Leaders need to create trust not just by talking the talk and walking the walk but by showing that they trust employees. To that, they must create an environment in which all are able to say what they think and to contribute ideas, with communication balanced between upward and downward forms.
Leaders should support initiatives that promote teamwork across the organization. They must provide ongoing training and learning opportunities in these areas and utilize practices such as dialogue and medical improv that stimulate trust and teamwork. Organizational systems for personnel selection, rewards, and mentoring must reflect the goal of a cooperative culture.
Unit managers have to trust the leadership and their employees – as well as other unit managers. Cooperation between units will not exist if managers don’t work as a team, and the leadership needs to monitor relations and communication among the different departments to ensure that cooperation, not rivalry, is the guiding force.
Individual healthcare workers must, despite the inherent stresses of the healthcare environment, maintain a cooperative attitude and act in a way that promotes trust. That’s very hard to do and may require strong skills in assertiveness.
As any nurse would note, patients should be cooperative, too! The most effective method to obtain such behavior is for nurse and other staff to treat the patient as the key member of the team. And since we are all likely to be patients at one time or another, we should resolve in that event to balance self-advocacy with trust in the interest of cooperation – good practice in life generally, actually!
–Jim Murphy has a solo consulting practice called Management 3000, focusing on organizational development and change management. Being semi-retired, Jim is willing to provide very reasonably priced consulting, coaching or project work for organizations aspiring to improvement in organizational culture, effectiveness and employee engagement.
Formerly he led the Massachusetts Bay Organizational Development Learning Group, was Human Resources Director for the City of Boston Assessing Department, and served as a consultant with the Boston Management Consortium. His consulting practice includes management coaching as well as research and writing on employee relationships, leadership, healthcare and collaborative practices. Having produced newsletters for several organizations and being a frequent content writer for the”Confident Voices in Healthcare” blog, he is interested in writing and research opportunities, as well as consulting and coaching.
www.manage2001.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org