How we get on with people at work really affects us. Seems obvious, but it is not easy, especially when everyone is under so much pressure.

Face to faceWhen working with teams or individuals the quality of our relationships; our ability to trust and manage healthy conflict all contribute to our sense of well-being and ultimately resilience. But obviously we all have a different approach to managing our relationships, based on our underlying needs and what we are prepared to show we want.

So, as part of my CPD for 2017 I decided to train in a diagnostic tool with OPP to learn more about our interpersonal behaviours – specifically how we orientate ourselves to those around us. This is why I chose the FIRO (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation) instrument. It is grounded in solid research developed over 50years and gives practical insight with an objective report on what you might want and how you might express this to others.

Why is this useful in a busy healthcare environment?

Those of us who have worked in or continue to work in the healthcare sector know, without a doubt, that it is the people that really make the system what it is. And it is the quality of their relationships with each other that see them through times of great stress or brilliant innovation. So understanding how you orientate your self to others is a additional insight that is highly valuable.

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So how does FIRO work?

The model breaks down into three areas that Will Schutz described in1958  -originally devised to measure and predict the interaction between people for the purpose of assembling highly productive teams in the US Navy.

 

Schutz describes our interpersonal needs* as:

Involvement    Influence    Connection 

*FIRO Business version

Schutz says these interpersonal needs are as basic as our need for food, shelter and water.

The model scores you across these three areas, but crucially it breaks this down further into ‘Expressed Behaviours’ (what others see you displaying as your need) and ‘Wanted Behaviours’ (what you’d like to receive from others, but might be less visible).

Example: I got a score that is relatively high for Expressed Involvement but lower for Wanted Involvement. What this could mean is that I express visibly a need for involvement in group activities – that is what people are seeing, but my actual need for involvement is lower than this = potential mixed messages?

Aligning FIRO, MBTI and Leadership Development

Helpfully the FIRO model can be used alongside your existing MBTI learning because both MBTI and FIRO give you a perspective on your leadership behaviours that can be incredibility helpful in understanding how you interact with and affect those around you.

Both instruments tap into key aspects of personality and behavior in areas such as communication, problem solving, decision making, and interpersonal relations. The instruments are also distinct, each providing a view of your leadership personality through a different window. Together, they complement each other and provide rich information of use in your personal, ongoing leadership development program. OPP Leadership Report using MBTI and FIRO. 

FIRO for Individuals and Teams

As with MBTI Step I & II, you can use FIRO to build self awareness in individuals and then use this to enable greater understanding of difference and similarities within teams.

More group work

If you would like to talk to me about FIRO and your development needs as a individual or your team call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexis@alexishutson.com. 

In the summer of 2015 I worked with a senior healthcare team.

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They already knew their MBTI Step I and had been successfully developing their team dynamics with the aid of that knowledge. But they wanted to take their understanding and performance as a group to a deeper level, so asked me to work with them on Step II. The team was a mixture of Doctors and managers.

OPP (Business Psychology experts who work extensively with type theory) asked me to write a blog about my observations and learning.

To read the full article on the OPP website CLICK HERE

Links to more resources on MBTI

MBTI & Doctors

Peter Lees of FMLM on MBTI 

Team Development 

If you would like to talk over your team’s development call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at 

alexishutson@yahoo.com

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I’m running two taster sessions at the end of this month with the Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management (FMLM).

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All leadership development starts with understanding yourself better. Being aware of your preferences, noticing how you do things, reflecting on your behaviour and the choices you make, is crucial to growing as a leader – whatever stage of your career.

Within these sessions we will explore the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI).

These workshops will:

  • Strengthen your awareness of your leadership and management strengths and weaknesses
  • Improve your self awareness, awareness of others and managing your relationships
  • Understand your role within team dynamics and cope with the inevitable conflicts that arise
  • Identify your learning needs and build a development plan

The two taster sessions are:

The Leader Within 9.30 to 12.30 25th June at the Royal college of Physicians

Leading Change – Managing Conflict 1.30 to 4.30pm 25th June at the Royal college of Physicians

NB. These sessions make reference to the FMLM Leadership & Management Standards

Why is leadership in a non-clinical setting often hard to establish and maintain?

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I’ve been running a few leadership sessions over the summer and it’s also a regular issue that comes up for individual coaching clients.

You may be a divisional director, leading a research team, be a senior partner, managing an educational programme or part of a national project.

Whatever the context, I hear the same difficulties regularly:

  • How can I engage others more effectively?
  • Why don’t people do what they say they will do?
  • How come everyone has a slightly different view of our goal?
  • Why isn’t this more straightforward?

Leading in a clinical setting can be less complicated. The lines of accountability are often clearer and as a Doctor, you are often the final decision-maker. But outside of this setting, it can get foggy.

So what can you do?

If we remember that leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal, then we are reminded that leadership itself is mostly about managing relationships. And in order to do this well, you have to manage yourself first.

So any decent leadership programme requires self-development and reflection on your personal preferences. This is important because a crucial part of leadership is managing the balance of Context v Personal Preference.

For example:

  • The context may be nebulous and ever-changing, but your preference is to get things decided and actioned quickly?
  • Your preference is to consider the impact in the long-term, but the context is to get value for money immediately?

Here are a few points to remember when you get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of messy leadership:

  • Remember that your personality preferences will affect the culture of the team – are these enablers or blockers to the context?
  • Remember that you can’t just focus on the task of the team – the individuals and whole group need leading too.
  • Remember that your clinical leadership skills are transferable – just make sure you reflect and review on how you use them.

 

If you would like to talk over your leadership responsibilities call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com

 

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Why are ineffectual teams so common?

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I hear clients talk about their poorly performing teams and the stress this causes frequently. People assume that as adults, teamwork should come naturally, especially in the health service where everyone has the same goal. However, finding a role in your team, contributing positively and leading democratically do not come easily. More typically, the group dynamics are poor, there is conflict around decision-making, low levels of trust or the leadership is weak. This affects everything and it’s really difficult to move the team to a better position.

It can be more straightforward in clinical teams where there is a hierarchy and focus that enable people to understand the shared purpose. However put Doctors into managerial teams, research teams, projects teams, educational teams, peers groups etc, then the dynamics can be very different, much harder to navigate and can be constantly shifting.

I think the reason that ineffectual teams are so common is because people assume teams can take care of themselves or it’s someone else’s responsibility. They can’t and it isn’t. It takes planning and action by all to make them work well.  Here are some tips to think about if you are considering starting a new team or reflecting on a poorly functioning team.

Starting a new team:

  1. Be clear about the purpose of the team and what its’ objectives are.
  2. Be clear about the roles that you expect people to play in the team.
  3. Be clear about your shared values for being a part of this team.
  4. Be clear about how you will work, meet and get things done.

Remember, managing peoples’ expectations is crucial to getting off on the right foot. This is all common sense, but don’t take it for granted. Make sure you don’t make assumptions about other peoples’ motivations or willingness to contribute. Remember that all groups typically will travel through Tuckman’s stages of:

Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing

Developing an existing team:

  1. Draw a map of the team to get a birds-eye view of all the members and their positions. What does this tell you?
  2. In order to build trust, practice empathising with other members and get to know them a bit better.
  3. Accept that conflict is a part of any team and develop a strategy to manage the conflict safely.
  4. Acknowledge that everyone has an equal role to play and should be heard.

Remember, poorly functioning teams are usually driven by negative behaviour and behaviour is driven by feelings. Observe what emotions appear to be present, and why. Consider your own feelings and perhaps talk to other members about theirs. If you are able to pinpoint what emotions are contaminating your team, you stand a better chance of identifying the problem and doing something about it.

It’s uncomfortable to face these challenges, especially if no one else seems to want to take it on. But if you really want to be part of a better team, then someone has to make a start.

Team building does not happen on away days, it happens every day at work.

 

You may find a recent article in ‘Advances in psychiatric treatment’ – Teamwork: the art of being a leader and team player useful.

Call 0754 0593476 or email me on alexishutson@yahoo.com

If you are a doctor with a leadership or management responsibility, then the chances are, you have two jobs.

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I’ve just come back from the annual Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management (FMLM) conference where I was exhibiting and speaking. The conference is aimed at clinicians who have an interest in developing leadership and management skills for themselves, or others. I really enjoyed my time there and met a lot of really interesting and thoughtful people. I really admire those of you who take up the challenge of a leadership role. You don’t have to do it and you don’t really get any thanks or reward for it.

And the reality is, that if you don’t give up your medical role, you have to the juggle the demands of your leadership challenges with your clinical priorities. Doctor and coach Richard Winters writes this month, this can come in four different challenges:

  1. Overwhelmed by organisational noise – urgent priorities means a reactive and fire-fighting approach
  2. Feeling stuck as an outsider – not belonging to either tribe
  3. Feeling stuck in transition – not knowing how your leadership skills are developing
  4. Feeling trapped in a time warp – organisational change and projects can take a long time

Department chairs, managing partners, medical directors, chiefs of staff—they’re all frustrated. As a practicing physician with experience in several leadership roles, I know how they feel: They don’t recall saying to their childhood friends, “I want to be Vice President of Medical Affairs when I grow up.”

Richard Winters MD. See Richard’s blog ‘Coaching doctors to become leaders’ HERE

I think those people who are prepared to stick their neck out and have a go at these roles deserve to have proper support and development. Coaching and mentoring are an effective way to develop the skills and approaches you will need. Because it is tailor made for you, your strengths and weaknesses and the environment you work in, it can accelerate your leadership development significantly. As one client said to me recently, “I probably would have got there eventually, but this coaching has sped up my learning by 1-2 years.” (Consultant).

Call 0754 0593476 or email me on alexishutson@yahoo.com and talk to me about your leadership role.

The idea of coaching for Doctors can seem a bit strange. They are highly educated and well trained over many years; surely they are finished with learning? The trouble is, at some point in a medics’ career (often when first joining a GP practice as a partner or getting that first consultant post in a hospital) they might begin to realise that their professional performance goes way beyond being a great clinician.

During UK speciality training Doctors do have the chance to learn and develop their non-clinical skills in team-working, communication and leading others for example. But evolving skills and learning from experience whilst on the job as a senior clinician is different. Cast off from training programmes I think sometimes Doctors can feel adrift when the realities of leadership styles, group dynamics and internal politics start to play a bigger role in their working life.

What I seem to be working with currently with Doctors is supporting them to develop personal style, qualities, attributes and skills as a leader and manager once past CCT. It works, and adds value, as  one of my medics said to me last week –

 I was a bit cynical at first thinking, what could she teach me? I now realise it is a lot.

GP East Midlands