1. Hader, Richard RN, CNA, CHE, CPHQ, PhD, Editor-in-Chief

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After we'd worked together for 9 years, my colleague announced that she'd accepted an exciting promotional opportunity that was 3,000 miles away. Although I was pleased with her success, I couldn't believe I was losing the privilege of working with her. We'd both been appointed vice president within a few months of each other and through the years relied on one another quite a bit. Despite the difference in our management styles, interests, and professional aspirations, we shared a reciprocal professional admiration. Through collaboration and mutual respect, we achieved success, because as team-mates we worked well together.

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Successful teamwork requires a significant amount of drive and dedication. One of the essential components of team success is a stalwart trust between team members, which is developed when members are consistent in their words and actions. Thriving teams can predict with a high degree of certainty how a member will react in given situations. This predictability builds a culture of trust that allows the team to take more risks that'll undoubtedly lead to success. Trust that's fragmented can be extremely detrimental to a unit, so we must consistently nurture it. Without the ability to trust, team creativity and risk-taking will be paralyzed, resulting in poor outcomes.


An effective teammate will maximize his or her colleague's strengths. A team player can identify when the right team member needs to intervene to achieve a goal. When you master the ability to effectively maneuver team members' specific talents, everyone benefits. Just as runners in a relay race, good teams repeatedly practice the art of the hand-off rather than focusing on the win. If the skill of passing the baton between team members isn't perfected, no chance exists for success.


Although healthy intra-team competition can be positive, it's your job as a leader to ensure that it doesn't become an obstacle to achieving the overall goal. Encourage staff members to put personal ego, agendas, and special interests aside for the sake of achieving the main objective. Establish ground rules that clearly delineate expectations; all members either adhere to them or remove themselves from the team.


Honesty must never be compromised. Misrepresentations, story changing, or misinterpretations can't be tolerated. High standards of behavior and personal commitment must be inherent in all teams. If you identify a breach in these principles, confront it swiftly to minimize negative effects.


More than ever, we need to work as a team. Patients expect better standard of care that can only be accomplished through effective and collaborative teamwork. Though I'll miss working with my former teammate, I look forward to building new trusting relationships and continuing the quest of providing excellence to our patients.