- Posted Tuesday July 16, 2019
Every practice manager knows that behind an effective GP practice is a brilliant team - a united group that pulls together with the aim of making a real difference.
When everyone is pulling in the same direction, you can feel confident that your practice will see positive results. So what can PMs do to ensure their people are working together productively and driving the practice forward?
Communication is Key
We really can’t stress this factor enough! Communication is the backbone of a happy and successful team - without it the place will surely fall apart. Strong, open communication between you and your team should never be taken for granted.
Effective communication requires constant attention and nurturing. Just because you feel like you’ve reached a great understanding with your team, don't assume that it is unshakeable - if no work goes into maintaining it, that sense of harmony will most likely decline.
It’s definitely worth putting in the effort to cultivate a sense of transparency and togetherness - excellent communication has been found to improve happiness in the workplace, which has in turn been linked to staff being less likely to be absent or late.
Your team needs to feel united and understand you are leading them towards clear, specific goals. Using the great communication skills we discussed above, you need to ensure your team members know their key objectives for the next week, month, year, five years...
Make sure you take some time to regularly speak to your people, helping them recognise what is expected of them as individuals and as part of the team. Team members require direction from their leaders, and we can’t always expect people to take it upon themselves to understand and meet all of their objectives.
This should be a goal shared by everyone. We all want to come into work and do a good job, then come in the day after and do an even better job... Your team should have the means to share suggestions for improvements to processes, but they also need to feel empowered to do so.
Making small improvements to make our work more efficient is a continuing process, and it’s always good to have an open-door policy for individuals who have ideas to drive improvement. Feedback has a really important role in evolving the services we can offer to our patients.
Sharing the Load
A team is strongest when they feel that the workload is being shared out equally as much as is possible, with everyone working just as hard as the next person. Sometimes this can be hard to measure, especially if you have some team members who will shout from the rooftops about any achievement and others who barely make a peep even when they have achieved a real milestone.
Neither approach or working style is superior to the other, they are simply different - but as the role of leader it’s your job to ensure everyone is happy with the share of the work they have. Equally, each team member should show willing to help others out - it shows they want the whole team to succeed.
Appreciation and Celebration
It goes without saying that your staff need to feel appreciated and valued. Appreciation doesn’t have to mean something with huge monetary value; it could be a small employee of the month prize with a printed certificate or some other token of recognition.
Similarly, when the team has achieved a big goal or objective like outperforming expectations during a CQC inspection, are there any fun or interesting treats you could organise? If the team feels they are valued in the workplace, they are more likely to go the extra mile to help achieve those goals. Even the simplest acts of appreciation, like remembering to say ‘thank you’, can go a long way too!
If you and your team are looking for a helping hand to achieve a key objective, why not look into Thornfields training? Thornfields offer a wide variety of courses from everything from Improving Communications with Staff and Patients to Succeeding with Difficult People.