Every day is a new day in the world of mental health crisis. We never know what to expect from one day to the next. Everyone needs to be ready to go at any minute. Often times this can be very challenging, however, a great team can conquer many obstacles.
"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." - Phil Jackson
If there is one thing I have learned working in crisis situations is that it takes a team effort to communicate, collaborate and problem solve our way through helping people in their time of need. In any given situation everyone has to work together.
There are five common themes in building a great team. Communication, respect, collaboration, problem solving, and a common goal.
All good communication starts with being a good listener. We are often in a rush to get things done. This often leads us to listen only for the end of what others are saying, therefore missing key pieces of information. Avoid interrupting or talking over other people. This will only lead to frustration and misunderstandings.
All of us come together with a unique set of gifts, talents and experiences. Combining all these can make a great team when everyone feels respected. We all need to show our support to one another as we work. Offer to help out if you see someone struggling. Encourage others in your team and share your successes. Be positive around each other, negativity has a way of bringing everyone down and pulling away from our goals.
We all have to collaborate with each other within and outside our organization. We are constantly making referrals in the community, promoting our services and working with others. We have to be able to share ideas openly and listen to how we can effectively implement and coordinate care for those we serve. Building connections with others not only helps us do our work, it allows us to provide quality care in our community.
Whether it is feedback from the community, working on individual treatment plans, or simply getting along with another co-worker, we are often faced with problems to solve. Setting aside our emotional reactions and not taking things personally allows us to evaluate the situation with a clear mind and opens the doors to positive change. Some of the best problems are solved by thinking outside the box. Be open to learning new ways of thinking and doing your work.
A Common Goal
In mental health and crisis work we are all working for a common goal; to help people. When we set aside our differences, listen with respect and build on each other’s strengths you have the makings of a successful team. I am proud of the work we do at Thrive and the team we have at the Birch Tree Center. Each day we share our positives from our shift and I high-five on-coming and out-going shifts. It’s my way of saying great job and sharing the encouragement that whatever the shift brings we got this, “together”.