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Everything else

All the stuff we didn’t have a place for.

By Silvia Janska

You might read the above title and think this article is for employers and leaders who lead teams. But anyone who is part of a team has the opportunity to make it a good team. A good leader merely supports this activity. 

Achieving effective teamwork takes work, and collaboration has never been more important than in today’s fast-changing environment. It will hopefully come as no surprise that there is research showing that teamwork is much more productive than having a manager dictating the strategy and direction without input from the people who carry out the work. But what are the best steps to take to create an involved and motivated team? There is so much management advice out there, how do we know where to start?

Start here:

Everything I do and everything I dedicate my precious time to, must align with my values. So, I was very energised when I listened to Paul Fox’s lecture at the SPVS Congress 2023 entitled: The “Bear” Necessities of Leadership: The importance of values and understanding behaviour. In his talk, Paul talked about how resilient and well-motivated teams start with having aligned values, i.e. their strongly held beliefs. In other words, people are not going to be happy if their personal values do not align with their workplace’s values. So, this may be the first thing we wish to reflect upon. What do I value most? What does my workplace value? Does it feel like we are aligned?

If everyone in a team takes time to reflect on this, or perhaps runs a team workshop establishing some of those shared values, then this will support all other actions the team takes. A team that functions from shared values will be motivated to support each other, to step up for each other. Shared values will support the give-and-take mentality in time of need as well as the sharing of rewards. If a team is divided, conflict and disagreement follow.

The next step:

While is it up to the leader in the team to establish clarity and demonstrate strong common direction and purpose that the team can follow, the team needs to partake and collaborate to achieve these common goals. So, what can the individuals in a team do, how can they best support each other to create a good functioning team? In his talk, Paul followed on by sharing a schematic he has created, that depicts the three key and crucial values of good teamwork: honesty, respect, and communication. While there are many other values a team may wish to specify for their team, this model offers a starting point a basis upon which a team can build upon. Paul argues that these three are all needed, and should one component be missing, the team will not function in an optimum manner. For example, if respect is missing, the honesty may be communicated and perceived too brutal a way and cause disruption. Or, respect and communication – respecting other people’s opinions, regardless of whether they are different to your own, is an important part of an effective communication approach.

But don’t forget…

It is important to note that while setting up an effective teamworking strategy is key to having a successful business, it is equally as important maintaining that good teamwork. Team dynamics do change. Paul described that maintaining good teamwork is achieved when everyone in the team is committed, working together and has a feeling that the team is ‘together in this’. One word of caution from the creator, yet simple, like many powerful tools, this tool needs to be used appropriately. If used in a poorly functioning team, it may uncover unresolved issues.

I shall leave you with a starting reflection: How do you ensure effective teamwork?   

The Official Virtual Congress 2023 Programme

It’s here! The official event programme for The Webinar Vet’s Virtual Congress 2023. The Webinar Vet – Virtual Congress 2023 Event Programme by The Webinar Vet Download the PDF programme here: Gold Ticket Information Membership Information


EMILIE ROYAUX DVM DipECVN MRCVS EUROPEAN AND RCVS RECOGNISED SPECIALIST IN VETERINARY NEUROLOGY Emilie graduated from Ghent University in 2012 and completed a rotating internship and residency there. She received her ECVN diploma in 2017 and since…