Are you a Team Player?
Working in a GP Surgery, you will be familiar with the need to work together as a Team, whether you be one of the doctors, the nurses or part of the administration team. You might be part of the small group of senior managers or just alone. There might be a Team of receptionists or secretaries, or may be data clerks. Whatever you do, you will probably be a member of a team.
You might know what role you play in a team, but there again you might not. I recently found a Questionnaire offered to Practices over 25 years ago by Astra Pharmaceuticals which I have attached to this effort in the form of a spreadsheet. There are others free on line, such as www.123test.com/team-roles-test/ . But you could also look at www.belbin.com but you would have to pay. They all use similar descriptions of the roles you might find amongst your Team.
But let’s take a look at team roles you might play. See if you can recognise yourself.
The Leader – You would be the team’s organiser (You might even be the boss). You should be able to display powers of control and take delight in the job of co-ordinating resources (including people and tasks). You are usually democratic but ready to take control if necessary. You will have the final say. You should be able to balance the weaknesses and strengths of your team, with a view to achieving its objectives. Usually you are dominant and assertive without being aggressive. You are enthusiastic and charming with it, but underneath you are reserved and objective. You will not let you let your personal views and feelings influence you. You will always act responsibly and like to do things properly. For you, action gets results, you may be well respected but you may not always be popular. That’s life!
The Creator – This would probably be me, the ideas person, an innovator in the Team. The trouble with ideas is that they all don’t come to fruition. As the ‘Ideas’ person I would enjoy finding new ways of doing thing, otherwise I would get bored. I always like finding a new way to travel from A to B. I have never liked taking the same route to work each day.. The Ideas person has a fertile and fluent mind and can transform the Team’s thinking. One problem might be that the Creator nought opt out if things don’t go their way, or others treat their ideas with doubt. You can’t win ‘em all Creators are normally happy to work on their own. They are self-confident and although sometimes assertive. They are popular members of the Team.
The Beaver – Totally committed to the Team, the Beaver gets on with the job. You need Beavers.They are thorough, careful and determined as well as enthusiastic. They prefer tasks to be delegated to them and they provide information to the Team and will do anything to get it. Oh, how I would like a team of happy beavers working in my surgery. Beavers are sincere, honest, conscientious and well-disciplined. They are always busy, and may become so absorbed in their work that they become oblivious to what is happening around them. (I know the feeling). Beavers have ultimate trust in members of their team and without their dedication and commitment the Team would have difficulty getting results. Does this sound like a Team you manage?
The Welder – Preserving and Keeping the Team together is the principle goal of the Welder. Being a people person is their first concern. The Welder is well aware of the moods, demands and concerns of others in the Team. Welders promote team spirit by building on and getting team members to recognise the strengths of each other. The Welder dislikes arguments, as they try hard to get the Team to work together. They avoid confrontation and hate to think they were unpopular. Secure people, un-competitive and apparently indecisive and lacks toughness, their contribution to the Team is easy to under-estimate.Not quite a Beaver!
The Analyst – The power of the Analyst is in their all-out approach to problems. They examine ideas and situations from inside out analysing both their feasibility and practical value. Shrewd, astute and acute, they are frequently very earnest. Although their critical and thorough nature may make them seem negative and cause unpopularity, they prevent the Team from becoming too enthusiastic about exciting but impractical ideas. But a successful team needs ‘experts’.
The Implementer – Implementers like to get things done. They are often impatient, and even compulsive individuals. I call this the ‘five minute syndrome, where the expectancy is always that you can do it, whatever it is, straightaway. Implementers put their excess energy to productive and their work gets done to a high standard and on time. They can convey a sense of urgency to a job and will ‘nag’ their colleagues until it is done. Full of vigour with a strong sense of purpose their attitude or pushiness can annoy some of the Team. Nevertheless, their role is important in eliminating procrastination and slackness.
The Perfectionist – There’s always one. The Perfectionist is the Team’s ‘quality controller’; the one that dots every ‘i’ and crosses every ‘t’. Their obsession is with the detail as they become the Team’s “housekeeper”. Every misspelt word will be pointed out. The Perfectionist tries to ensure that everything the Team does is as perfect as possible, but in doing so can annoy others who simply want to rush to meet a deadline. The Perfectionist is unhappy about the concept that quantity is more important than quality. The Perfectionist works hard and will put in extra time to achieve a finished job. They can be unpopular as they are often serious minded individuals, but are completely reliable.
Little Mix or Big Mix
The truth is that you will have a mix of all or some of the roles mentioned, probably in the same person, but the greater degree of a role that you play will determine your principle role. I score highly as a leader and creator – what a muddle! But I recognise traits in myself in all the other ‘roles’. Teams need to get the job done, using their people to complete the tasks to the best of their ability making full use of the resources available in the most efficient and effective manner. But don’t tell the Perfectionist!
Robert Campbell – November 2018
Adapted from “Effective Teamwork” published by Astra Pharmaceuticals (1992) for use in the medical profession.
And there’s More,
Here is a presentation about Team Building which you might find useful involving a Jigsaw……..
Team Building – Oh what a Jigsaw
Building a Practice Staff Team
This team building game was designed to allow a group of staff to discuss and think about being a team. What is it? How might it work? How can you get the best out of it.
The basic idea is to provide a small jigsaw with say 10 to 20 pieces to the group or groups. You might split the audience into groups of five or six. Then you can compare the results. So provide the group with a simple jigsaw and ask them to make the jigsaw and think about the structure of the jigsaw and the shape of the pieces. What are the pieces individually and what do you have when they are all joined together. Allow about 10 minutes. Then ask the group through a spokesman if necessary to list their conclusions.
You can use the ‘answers’ below as a slide or handout to provide at the end of the exercise.
WHAT IS A JIGSAW?
What is a Jigsaw and what is a Team?
There are boundaries to a Jigsaw and also to a team. A team normally has a specific purpose or function.
Each jigsaw has pieces and each team member plays a specific role in a team.
When the jigsaw pieces are joined you have a jigsaw; when all team members are connected ‘teamwork’ should occur.
Each jigsaw piece is like each person; unique in its shape and size. Team members have their own skills, attributes, abilities, feelings, ambitions and desires and some have power!
The solution to a jigsaw puzzle is a fragile one – it can be easily broken up into pieces. A team is easily broken up and the mourning process starts.
The whole jigsaw is greater than the sum of its pieces. In other words in a team two heads are better than one!
Some jigsaw pieces are central and on the inside of the puzzle; some jigsaw pieces are peripheral and on the outside of the puzzle. Team members have different, skills, talents, abilities and competencies. They may all have a different degree of input to the team depending on their strengths and weaknesses.
There are natural groupings in the puzzle of colour, and design. The pieces with flat sides all go on the outside. Some team members hold the group together – others don’t
When making the puzzle someone needs to select the pieces and move then around into position. Teams need to have a leader, a plan, aims and objectives.
Someone who can see the whole picture (who has an overall vision) helps a rapid solution to the puzzle. Is that person you?
POST IT NOTES
Another exercise with a group or team is provide post it notes – 10 each. Ask those present to write down 5 positive things about their job and the environment they work and 5 negative things.
Then after say 10 minutes ask for the notes to be passed to you. Sort the negative and the positive into groups. Then discuss the conclusions. You might need to act on some of the things that have been raised. But make the point that the exercise is one of openness and that you are encouraging a blame free culture.
Here is a presentation about Team Building that you might also find helpful.