I just read that people who have received their full Covid-19 vaccinations may possibly plan small gatherings for the Independence Day holiday! The idea of family time made me think of The Mandt System program, Chapter 1: Building Healthy Relationships. We spend a significant portion of the first day talking to participants about the importance of having healthy workplace relationships and building teamwork. The benefits of these healthy relationships are numerous. It creates an increased sense of safety at work because we know that our teammates have our back, which is especially important when we are working with people who have the potential to use their behavior in challenging ways. It allows us to experience trust with our co-workers, which in turn will show those we serve that we are trustworthy. It enhances our communication and gives us an idea of how our teammates will respond in stressful situations.
Another aspect of Chapter 1 is discussing how we go about developing that sense of team. In many classes we have really interesting discussions about how to develop and build our teams at work. Participants talk about various activities they do – especially activities that cannot be completed alone but that require members to work cohesively together. They discuss how they support one another following a particularly difficult interaction with people served. They offer examples of how the team members spend time together while everyone is at baseline to boost those relationships. A common theme is being proactive and preventative so that the guesswork has been taken out when team members are faced with stressful situations.
Open communication with honest feedback is another key component. People need to be free from fear of retaliation when they air opinions that differ from others. Team members should be encouraged to offer creative ideas to solve problems that may negatively impact the team.
Members of the team also have a responsibility to their teammates to maintain fidelity (or consistency) to the decisions that have been made. Those decisions might be regarding policy but may also impact service delivery. It is vital that everyone is working in concert with one another. That circles back to the idea of teams allowing for an increased sense of safety.
Set a good example for all the members of your team. Communicate openly and honestly with your teammates; build people up instead of tearing them down; and, show integrity and compassion to those you serve as well as those who work with you.
Go team, go!
Nikki Wince – Mandt Faculty Supervisor