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Teamwork That Works – Should There Be an “I” in Team?

Real-world insights from AADOM authors - Connie Kratohvil, author of blog on teamwork.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “There is no “I” in team!”

While that may be true grammatically, the concept has certainly changed over the years.

We have iPad, iPhone, iPod, and several other “i” technologies.

Practices have seen staff turnover due to the “me factor.”

What’s in it for me?

Why don’t they offer me more money, more benefits, more time off, etc.?

We, us, and ours

In this “me” driven world, there’s a need for the return of “we,” “us,” and “ours.”

Teamwork means thinking in terms of “our” patients, “our” practice, and “our” work environment.

Team success…Opens in a new window to article on teamwork from Lifehacker… is bigger than just “me.”

We need to go beyond ourselves to integrate a team concept.

For all that we do in a day’s work, we tend to feel that no one works as hard as “me,” no one cares as much as “me,” no one applies themselves as much as “me.”

Even patients have this tendency.

Why can’t you stay open later for “me”?

Why can’t you make an exception for “me”?

Seeing a different perspective

What if we were to try to see one another’s position, you know, look at the world and our work environment in an “I” way?

For example, true teamwork can look like:

  • I can see that one of my team members needs assistance. I can flip an operatory for them, I can jump in and help sterilize instruments, or I can (if applicable) facilitate care.
  • I can see that the doctor or team member is overwhelmed. I can run out and get them lunch or something to drink.
  • I can see that the administrative team could use an extra hand answering the phone today because we are very busy. I can offer my free time between patients.
  • I can offer to stay a little late or come in a little early to help someone else catch up.

What about going all-in for our patients?

Some examples:

  • I can help Mrs. Jones fill out her health history because she needs assistance with the computer.
  • We can take an active part in helping Mr. Smith relax in the treatment chair, as we know he has dental anxiety.
  • We can work together to present a treatment plan, so that the patient realizes the whole team cares about the results and that our care is continuous.
  • We can try to seamlessly blend our care so that our patients can tell when we hand them off to another team member, we’re placing them in trusted hands.
  • We can present a united front so that that patients have equal trust in all of us. The patients need to see that we have each other’s backs.

What about teamwork in our practice?

We can remember that when “I” try to give more as a whole, when “I” do more than expected, when “I” go the extra mile for a patient or another member of my team, and each “I” (individual) on the team does the same, “we” perform better.

“We” are actually prioritizing the practice and the patients.

Everyone knows that when the practice does well, we all do better emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, and yes – even financially.

When it comes to teamwork, maybe there should be an “I” in team-because “I” can make a difference!

Meet the Author

Headshot of Connie Kratohvil, CDA, LIA, FAADOMConnie Kratohvil, FAADOM, has 42 years’ experience in the dental industry and is Practice Manager of Tri-State Family Dentistry…Opens in a new window to Tri-State Family Dentistry website… in Hebron, KY. She’s also a certified dental assistant, licensed dental radiographer, and licensed insurance agent. Connie is very active in both the local and national chapters of AADOM.






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3 comments on “Teamwork That Works – Should There Be an “I” in Team?”
  1. Avatar
    Lan Alexander

    Nice article! I liked the fresh perspective on how you can still individually impact the team in a positive way!

  2. Avatar

    I loved this article. Will def be sharing with staff

  3. Avatar

    Great article. Well said!

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