How to Build Cohesive, High Performing Care Teams

Posted on October 15, 2018 by Simon Mittal, MD, MMM

Updated July 28, 2020

Healthcare-Care-TeamFor healthcare organizations, delivering care is about more than having great physicians, providers and clinicians and enabling them to diagnose and treat the right conditions. It’s also about having every clinician aligned and contributing to a common, organizational vision and working together as a cohesive team to do the right things.

It isn’t easy to make this happen, however. Clinicians are just plain swamped, especially in primary care practices. Their main focus is to spend time with patients, and there isn’t a lot of time to think critically about how to build and foster good working teams. They’re also under more pressure to work harder, to see even more patients and hit organizational goals and metrics – while continuing to deliver great care to satisfy patients’ increasing expectations. It’s a difficult balance, and perspective organizational leaders may have difficulty grasping.

4 Tips for Building Great Working Care Teams

How can healthcare organizations overcome these challenges and build strong, unified teams? Here are four tips.

1. Start at the Beginning, With Proper Hiring and Onboarding

Building great teams starts with finding the right people with the unique skills and traits that fit well for specific teams and your entire organizational culture.

  • Audit your teams so you know what skills and traits would benefit you the most.
  • Be patient. The right people might not come along right away and waiting for a better fit may prove healthier for your team and organization than making the wrong hire.
  • Onboard new clinicians properly. Give them a thorough training on your organizational vision and culture, determine their strengths and engage them in areas where they bring distinct value and want to grow.

2. Identify and Develop Leaders

All too often, healthcare organizations fail to develop leaders who can ascend up the org chart or carry the torch for their vision and culture in everyday work situations. Instead:

  • Develop criteria for what you feel is important for leadership in your organization.
  • Encourage clinicians to develop into leaders and ambassadors in their own ways, nurturing areas where they offer strengths relating to your criteria.
  • Communicate. Create a free flow of information up and down the org chart and empower clinicians to offer ideas and reciprocate trust.
  • Take advantage of resources, such as leadership consulting and peer coaching, that help guide you through these processes.

3. When Conflict Arises, Embrace It – Don’t Squelch It

The best care teams are ones that work through conflicts together in a healthy way instead of ignoring them or letting them fester and become bigger problems. No matter the size of your organization, and how conflicts manifest themselves in your teams, any conflict has the potential to sink your team.

  • Create trusting, open relationships through which conflicts can be aired and resolved.
  • Once solutions are created and implemented, let go of the conflict and move on.
  • Use past situations of conflict as a catalyst for brainstorming and creating action plans on how to improve, and then act accordingly.

4. Implement Policies That Strengthen Relationships

There is plenty organizational leaders can do to show clinicians they value them on their teams and are committed to their success.

  • Hire the right people with the right skills and traits to fit your culture.
  • Ask clinicians how they feel and what they face on a regular basis. Listen to them and take the proper action.
  • Promote your VITAL WorkLife Well Being Resources which can support your clinicians in resolving conflict. With peer coaching, your clinician can talk to someone who understands what they are going through. Peer coaches can guide your clinicians positively through conflict and difficult situations and can help build strong relationships by helping foster well being and resiliency.
  • Create strategies for developing and managing high-performing teams. Just like anything else, this is a skill to be learned and practiced.
  • Communicate regularly and openly. Encourage input, questions, comments and ideas.
  • Go the extra mile to demonstrate respect and consideration.
  • Consider creating a committee or task force with the specific purpose of fostering teamwork and optimizing organizational communications and relationships.

We Can Help

Our Physician Well Being Resources includes peer coaching, counseling and in-the-moment phone support, which can assist physicians and advanced practitioners in resolving conflict and building strong, cohesive care teams. In addition, leaders can also take advantage of peer coaching. Access these resources by calling 877.731.3949 or through your VITAL WorkLife App

Not a Member? 

If you are interested in learning more about our unique resources, built specifically for healthcare organizations, and how we can partner together to support your physicians on their well being journey contact us online.

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