Ever think about the reason for medical errors as related to team development? Anyone who reads depositions of nurses and doctors understands the way that team dynamics can affect patient safety. There are four stages of team dynamics or team development. A dysfunctional team can directly affect communication and lead to patient injury.
The first stage of team development is the honeymoon phase. You are getting to know each other. Everybody is nice to each other.
The honeymoon phase ends as people try to figure out how they fit in.
- “What are my role and responsibilities?”
- “What’s the pecking order?”
- “How do I belong to this team?”
Team participants start to challenge things and often they will challenge the leader. This may result in conflict and communication breakdowns.
Once you get through that whole Storming Phase you go into a “Norming Phase”.
Everybody knows their job and they do their work. People for the most part get along.
People go beyond doing what they need to do. They actually help others succeed and that’s when the strength of the team will really rise up, and the dynamics of the team will be the best.
Most people never reach a high performing team. It’s a very small percentage. The interesting dynamic is every time you get a new person on the team you can actually go back to the beginning. The other interesting dynamic is that some people once they get out of that forming stage get stuck in that storming phase. They just never get out of it.
There’s different approaches you can take at each stage that can help expedite you getting to a higher level from stage one in the forming to really define the expectations, the roles and the responsibilities. It’s a really great opportunity for people as leaders to interact with folks and ask, “How we are going to treat each other and what are our norms?”
Smoothly performing medical teams reduce the potential for miscommunication which may result in medical errors. Team development is affected by turnover, which brings the group back to the first stage, that of forming.
Nurse Randy Keirn shares great insights about team development and conflict management in his podcast, Conflict Management – What To Do When Your Client Is Angry. Listen to it here.