Building working relationships with those we work with each day is very important. Not only do these relationships make our work life better, but they also make the workplace better.
A few years back we hired two new medical assistants at the same time, they were wonderful women who had worked together in another practice for about one year, so they knew each other well, which was helpful for them. What equally important was that we (those who have worked in our practice prior to our new hires) work at developing our relationships with them so we could function as a new team.
It takes a while to get to know each other, yet we are expected to work well together from the start. Understanding each other is important and developing open communication from the beginning can be a challenge. I have found that being honest from day one and talking about how to develop good relationships and communication helps set everyone at ease and remove that shield that we so often can put up.
Together as a team we discussed the two points below in detail, sharing what they mean and giving each other examples of how we can get to know each other, ask questions, and understand each other’s comfort zones and boundaries.
- Take time to communicate: We are so rushed these days, with all that we must accomplish at work and at home. It is essential that we take those extra few minutes each day to ask those we work with how their day is going, and what is going on at home. It is important to get a little personal (within the boundaries of each person’s comfort zone). Trying to get to know your co-workers better is a way of showing that you care about them and that is more than just work and this starts to create a bond between workmates.
- Listening is just as valuable of a skill as talking: Take those extra moments to listen, what exactly are your co-workers saying? Ask questions, and “listen between the lines” to what is being said. Develop your skills of understanding, this means that you need to be quiet, and seek understanding as to where your co-worker may be coming from. Do not assume that you know, it is better to ask for clarification, so you really know what is being said.
As our conversation took place you could feel everyone begin to relax as they listened and talked with each other. It certainly is worth the invested time upfront to hopefully prevent misunderstandings and our ability to work well together.
We make it a practice to meet once a month to follow-up with each other and find out how we are doing together as a team and to find out if anyone has any concerns, or ideas that can help us as we work to continually improve our workplace, our relationships together and with our patients.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”