A Simple Roadmap for Becoming a Better Team Member at Work
By: Joe Siegler, MD
Humility and kindness combined with a respect for self and others, may be the easiest and quickest way to optimize your
effectiveness as a physician, team member, and person. We have included some basic goals for you to implement that may
help achieve quick results from your efforts.
Humility, Kindness, and Respect
By developing greater humility, physicians can positively impact their team, patients and families, and their
organization. They may also benefit personally by experiencing greater connection with others.
In the past years, self-improvement movements in our country have taught concepts of humility with expressions like “I
am a man among men,” or “I am a person among people” to describe how each individual is connected to and alike others.
Each person is not alone, not better, not worse, and not so unique.
Working on kindness and patience is a good approach for everyone to take. Try to avoid expressing irritation, anger,
judgment or even bullying behaviors. It is good for all of us to be aware of our triggers, that in turn can generate
maladaptive behaviors. It is good for physicians to develop preventive solutions to avoid getting stressed. For example,
pausing after being triggered is a useful and powerful mindfulness technique that allows you to stay calm and then
decide on a next step, if any.
Emotional Intelligence [E.I.]
Raising one’s emotional intelligence is a good idea for everyone as well. E.I. is learning how others see and experience
you and how you see yourself and others. Another thing one can do is to ask a few friends to tell you how they see you
in terms of strengths and goals they would suggest for you. However, you have to be ready to hear viewpoints that may be
challenging to hear.
Empathy is the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes and to be able to understand their experience better. Greater
empathy might be related to an increased ability to have deeper relationships with others. Therefore, growing one’s
capacity for empathy would probably be a good investment for you—with a probable positive influence on your own wellness
as you connect better to patients, families, and fellow team members—as well as to one’s own family and friends.
One of the best ways to respect yourself is by optimizing your wellness — both physical and emotional health. One thing
we observe in physicians who actively improve their overall job and team performance as well as personal wellness is
expansion of confidence and job satisfaction. This progress also tends to raise stress tolerance and at times actually
alleviates or entirely prevents burnout.
Activities such as life-long learning, adventure and travel, socializing, cooking, and meditation can also increase
work and life performance.
Raising Performance as a Team Member
You may find the following list of actions are helpful while incorporating aspects of humility when implementing a
roadmap for positive changes at work:
- Be prepared and early for deadlines and meetings
- Praise others for their successes
- Accept feedback gracefully, without defensiveness
- Cleanly apologize when appropriate
If after reading this article, you believe that at times you can be triggered into greater stress and
irritability—then you might utilize some of the following additional tools to remain calm:
- Buy a book dealing with mindfulness, irritability, or anger.
- Call your insurance company or primary care physician to refer you to a counselor, coach, or physician.
- Continuing to optimize skills of mindfulness and wellness (i.e., positive ways of thinking, meditation, yoga,
cardio and weight bearing exercise, nutrition, and exercise, etc.).
We have reviewed some ways of fostering higher performance on your own or with assistance, which in turn would
raise your team’s effectiveness. A state of calm humility can be incorporated into your optimized interactions with
peers, teams, patients, families, and personal friends and family members. You might even inspire another physician
colleague to achieve the same!
Joe Siegler, MD, is president and founder of Spheres Leadership Coaching for 22 years in Chicago, and is a
physician coach as well as a board-certified physician – specializing in the peak performance and wellness of
physicians (email@example.com, 312.785.7865).