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Published on June 20, 2019

aerial view of rowing team

Strong Qualities that Create Strong Teams

Let me guess, you’re probably taking a little computer break at work to read this article. While we’re on the topic, let’s talk about your team. For a moment, you either swelled with gratitude — or scrunched up your nose!

Coworkers either make or break the workplace. Businesses flourish or flop based on the team inside the brick and mortar. It’s a feat every manager must conquer: creating a strong team.

"Building a solid work environment is an investment, and it might be one of the best you can make," said Clarissa Barnes, MD, Medical Director of the LIGHT program at Avera.

"Avera leaders consider teamwork to be imperative to living out our Gospel-based mission of making a positive impact in the health of people and communities," said Mary Wolf, LPC-MH, Program Director of LIGHT.

Our providers, nurses and administration couldn’t serve the patient population without the foundation of healthy and effective teams.

Members of high-functioning teams display a number of qualities, including:

  • Ability to accept reality – look at a situation honestly, whether good or bad
  • Agility – anticipate and respond well to changes
  • Connectedness – spend time with coworkers and understand who they are
  • Future focus – maintain a positive image of the future
  • Partnership – identify and reach out to struggling colleagues
  • Presence – the leader is visible and accessible to employees
  • Proactivity – prepare for meetings and the day as a whole
  • Purpose – ensure the mission statement of your business is known to employees and customers, and understand how your personal work makes a difference
  • Resilience – enjoy the good moments and endure the hard ones
  • Review – go over what works and what doesn’t work
  • Vulnerability – acknowledge the things that affect you

"Teams that display these qualities achieve more because they feel valued and are working to the best of their abilities," said Barnes. "When the group is working well, they believe they are part of 'something more,' and don’t want to let others down."

Lack of communication and commitment — and especially clashing personalities — can hinder a growing business. However, the very real and unresolved personal issues of employees, including leaders, may also result in a thwarted team. Look for symptoms of anxiety, depression, tiredness or changes in appetite.

So how do we know if someone is struggling under the surface? Ongoing irritability is usually the most noticeable change in demeanor.

"We shy away from people who are curt with answers and requests," said Wolf. "However, avoiding a stressed individual rarely helps; those are the people that need the most support and kindness to help them get back on track."

Great teams are built over time. Use the tips below to establish a firm foundation:

  • Reiterate daily what your business stands for: customer satisfaction and quality services.
  • Facilitate effective communication and be clear. Nobody can read your mind!
  • Regard every employee’s idea as valuable.
  • Establish a respectful environment in which minor disputes can be resolved without hard feelings.
  • Demonstrate how all jobs work together for the greater goal of the group.

The LIGHT Program

Physicians and advanced care professionals treat and offer advice to dozens of people each week. However, the pressure to be "always on" and poised to serve patients can take a toll over the weeks, months and years.

"Health care providers need care just like their patients. Avera created the LIGHT program to focus on the unique needs of health care providers, including burnout, transitions, work-home balance and overall health," said Wolf.

One-on-one coaching, resources, retreats and workshops equip health care providers to take steps to regain energy and resilience. With the help of the LIGHT program, health care providers are better able to anticipate, respond and adapt to the volatile, complex and ambiguous environment that is health care.

The LIGHT program is designed for Avera health care providers. If you or someone you know needs mental health care, visit to find behavioral health services near you.

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Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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