We know how it is. The healthcare profession is very rewarding, but can be very draining. It’s tempting to just keep your head down, do your work, and go home. And if you’re accomplishing everything your job description says you should, that’s enough, right? Well, if you are ever hoping to be promoted, or think you might change jobs someday, probably not. Healthcare organizations want ‘team players,’ and just getting the job done usually doesn’t earn you that designation. So what does it take? Simply put, a team player is someone who is committed to the success of the organization as a whole. We’ll assume that you are committed to your organization’s success (if not we have larger issues to discuss), and focus here on ways to show that commitment.
We recently discussed some New Year resolutions to help make the workplace a better place: attending to small tasks around the office, doing nice things for coworkers, and being a good listener. Interestingly, these resolutions are also an excellent way to get started being a team player. They may seem overly simple and small, but, if you are known around the office as the person who never makes a new pot of coffee or changes the copy machine toner, we guarantee you are not perceived as a team player. Recognize co-workers who do a great job, listen to someone’s vacation story and ask a relevant question, and take out the garbage when full. These small gestures will be noticed, and their effect will add up.
GET A LITTLE BIGGER
When working on team player credibility, look for opportunities to be of service to others. Offer to help a coworker struggling with software you have mastered, sign up for the resident holiday party committee, or volunteer to lead a team building exercise. Be honest and transparent, work to quickly handle disputes and conflicts, and position yourself as someone your co-workers can count on. Admittedly, all of this will take up a bit of your time, but consider it an investment and set limits when you need to. Remember it is much better to promise a little and deliver more when you can, than promise a lot and fall short.
SHOW YOUR WORK
Employers are looking for the following team-player-related "magic words" on resumes: communication, conflict management, reliability, and respectfulness. In fact, many hiring managers use applicant tracking system software to scan resumes for these key words (among others), so their presence on a resume is crucial. If you are job hunting, you will have to demonstrate these team player skills on your resume and in the interview. Remember middle school math when you had to show your work? Break out the number two pencil because it’s time to do it again.
Be ready to give multiple examples of excellent communication skills. For example, did you present a new idea so effectively that it resulted in an improved process? Did you broker a compromise that resulted in resolution of a conflict? Be ready to talk about when you chipped in to help another department that was short-staffed, or when your team overcame a challenge. Describe how you’ve reached out to help coworkers in need and respectfully considered ideas that challenged your opinions. And don’t forget to show your interviewer what a good listener you are by not interrupting, and asking follow-up questions!
Whether you’re job seeking or happy where you are, utilizing these tips can help you be more successful, enjoy your job more, and even gain you some new friends.