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Stepwise Success

Real People, Real Problems

Published December 30, 2013 6:15 AM by Scott Warner

Teamwork isn’t just coaching, sharing goals, cheerleading, and celebrating success. Most of us are emotionally vested in work. We want to do well and feel good when we are associated with a place that cares about the people who work for it. And more importantly when we know coworkers care about each other.

If, for example, you work at a lab where the techs are friendly but distant, go to break and lunch together but don’t hang out after work, share trivialities but not heartache, and more or less work side by side but miles apart, you might as well work alone. The people you work with won’t matter to your sense of teamwork. It’s amazing to think that a workplace could exist where coworkers go through serious life events such as divorce, disease, or the death of a loved one without the sincere support of colleagues.

There isn’t anything wrong with arriving at work on time, doing the work well, and leaving on time. But this kind of work is forgettable, a contractual obligation. Those who work distantly are unlikely to make close connections with coworkers and, perhaps, their patients. They are as forgettable as the work they perform.

A team is made of real people with real problems. We all have them, and we all bring them to work. Some of us can hide this well, sharing a few details with a few coworkers, and some of us wear our hearts on our sleeves, our vulnerability palpable with too many details. It all makes up that messy, gooey dynamic of real people working together.

But the support of coworkers makes a huge difference to many when life happens. I’ve seen a lot of this over the years, and in my experience the stronger teams share, listen, and support each other more often no matter their personal differences. Office politics and past slights are put aside. Those workplaces where this doesn’t happen aren’t terrible, but they aren’t great, certainly.

Support and caring are crucial for great teamwork. How can we show compassion to patients and not each other?

NEXT: Be Smart This Year

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About this Blog


    Scott Warner, MLT(ASCP)
    Occupation: Laboratory Manager
    Setting: Critical Access Hospital
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