• Sara & Colin Taylor

Team Culture

Question: Do you think the newest person in an organization should provide their perspective on the organization in terms of the culture and leadership? The standard thinking might be that the newbie doesn't, nor shouldn't, have a say because of the very fact they are new. But what if the most junior is the very person that should be piping in?

Recently, we were reminded of some great Explore the Space podcast conversations with Dr. Mark Shapiro and David Berke on team based culture and leadership. Although David is from a completely different industry being in the military, the amount of parallels with healthcare is very revealing, in particular as to what leadership should look like and how that informs the culture. 

We wanted to highlight a few points that we took away from their discussions, in particular Episode 64: On Assessing Team Culture (we should add that this was our interpretation):

  1. Back to our opening question, the newest members of a team are best positioned to comment on the culture from a new perspective.

  2. Leaders have to be willing to show up in a genuine way willing to discuss their flaws. 

  3. Leaders should be open to receiving feedback and actually acting on that feedback.

  4. Teams need time to debrief about things that didn't go well in order to make improvements.

  5. The more willing teams are to admitting mistakes, the closer to excellence they are. The converse is also true. Just to pause on this a moment - this seems so obvious when you really examine it. We've likely all been a part of a work culture where mistakes are perceived as a weakness and therefore are hidden. By virtue of covering up mistakes, how can any positive changes happen in these environments? 

So the newest members on a healthcare team, such as medical students, residents, new clinicians, or physicians new to an organization, are a valuable voice that should be invited and heard.

A quote came to mind and we can't quite remember it, but it has something to do with a pig not being able to clean themselves if they keep rolling around in their own shit. Cultures in medicine can be very messy, so we have to all pitch in and clean them up.

“If we want people to fully show up, to bring their whole selves including their unarmored, whole hearts - so that we can innovate, solve problems, and serve people - we have to be vigilant about creating a culture in which people feel safe, seen, heard, and respected.” 

~ Brené Brown, Dare to Lead


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