1 Makes a Difference

Feb. 1, 2009
A team building reminder

A team building reminder

by Larry Wintersteen, BA, MA, CMT

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: team building, acountability, success, improvement, traits, Larry Wintersteen.

I Wonder

What would happen if each drop
Of rain refused to fall,
Or every sunbeam ceased to shine
Because it was too small?

What would happen if each day
We chose to leave undone
An act of kindness just because
It was a little one?
— Esther F. Thomas

When you read the title of this article, you may think it is about accounting. Not at all. But this article is about accountability.

For as long as I can remember, I have been taught that actions and people are the natural resources to success! Since 1974, I have observed that this youth-taught principle certainly has application for the dental team.

If the team really wants to be successful, then it is the responsibility of team members to look carefully, kindly, and thoroughly at themselves. Even though there is no “I” in the word team . . . the first elements of team are self-mastery and self-accountability.

You cannot be a team player if you do not take responsibility for your actions, attitudes, and personal self. In other words, if each team player assumes self-mastery, then this circle of “ones” will inspire and motivate the productive dreams of the entire team. One life touches another, and then there is a circle of union, elevation, and movement.

Naturally, you must be honest and in touch with your feelings if you are to develop self-mastery. It is important that you assess your values and motivations in life.

More importantly, you have to determine if you are a good fit and a positive person for your dental team. The team reaps added value if individuals are good to the team and for the team. The team will never grow if you are distracting and are taking away from the team's growth and opportunities.

If your negative habits and attitudes are throwing “garbage” on the team, then you will contaminate the team's health. Don't bring garbage behavior to work. Take responsibility to recognize your garbage and discard it immediately.

Do you sometimes think that you are not in close touch with the team? That's not unusual. It happens to all of us. We are human and have different emotions on different days. That's fine.

But what is not fine is when you choose to consciously not be a positive part of life or the team and instead inflict weaknesses on the team. Initially, when you joined the team, you probably worked hard at being a solid team player, giver, and helper. Then, as time progressed, that relationship became more and more routine and comfortable.

Consequently, you may have decided to function alone and set aside other team players. If this is the case, make certain that your separate individual efforts are worthy of your personal growth and others' personal growth. Never think so much of yourself that you take away from others. Avoid elevating yourself, gossip, poisoning the well, dishonesty, and deception.

There is nothing as priceless as friendship or being a helper because this makes even the hardest life and job bearable. In your office, you can give inspiration and direction to team players by offering 110% in all you do.

If each individual assumed the role of going the extra mile, then there would be a surplus of help, kindness, effort, and caring. It has been said that he who carries a lantern to light the pathway of his neighbor sees his own more clearly.

I think most of us know that in trying to encourage others, we gain courage, strength, and an appreciation for life and its opportunities. None of us like the feeling of being alone or carrying a load singlehandedly. There is certainly strength in numbers. But, initially there is strength in one — you!

Promise yourself and your team that you will:

  • Be kind. Nothing is so beautiful, no quality so irresistible.
  • Be loyal. Owners and leaders need your dedication and respect.
  • Be flexible. Learn multiple aspects of your profession.
  • Be positive and constructive. It builds character and dependability.
  • Be without gossip. If not, you will hurt primarily yourself.
  • Be tolerant and forgiving. You may learn and discover something new.
  • Be a problem solver. It has natural rewards and personal satisfaction.
  • Be honest with self and others. It's the best policy.
  • Be the best you can be. Make a difference.
  • Be grateful. You have many talents, gifts, and opportunities.
  • Be respected. You are worthy of it.
  • Be a good listener. This allows you to gain understanding and insight.
  • Be “one” in strength. Add to the circle of excellence!

Here's some food for thought: My grandmother used to tell me the story about the pig and the cow. The pig was not well liked and the cow was loved by all. This puzzled the pig.

“People speak warmly of your gentle nature and your big brown eyes,” the pig said to the cow. “They think you are generous because each day you give them milk and cream. But, what about me? I give them everything I have. I give them ham and bacon. I provide bristles for brushes. They even pickle my feet! Yet no one likes me. Why is that?”

Do you know what the cow's answer was to the pig? The cow said, “Perhaps it's because I give while I'm still living.”

The strength of one is invaluable and appreciated by all. Don't be a team player that is not dependable or needs a babysitter. Be mature. Your team should not have to worry about you. They should be able to count on your consistent performance and mature professionalism.

Larry Wintersteen, BA, MA, CMT, founded Wintersteen & Associates in 1974. He is committed to excellence in personal and professional growth through practice image, patient communication, team building, and self-actualization. He stresses the importance of self-discipline, sensitivity, motivation, honesty, expansive thinking, and balance. Contact Wintersteen via e-mail at [email protected].

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