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Episode #286 – The Core Value of Teamwork in Your Animal Health or Veterinary Career

Caleb: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health and Veterinary industries. The VET Recruiter’s focus is to solve talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. In fact, The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary companies hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

Today, we’ll be talking with Stacy about the core value of teamwork in a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary career. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Caleb. As always, I’m glad to be here with you.

Caleb: Stacy, we recently talked about the core value of hard work in a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary career. So, it’s not surprise that we’ll be discussing teamwork this week. Where would you like to start with this core value?

Stacy: Caleb, as we’ve done with the other core values, I’d like to start with a definition. Teamwork is, “The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal. Teamwork is often a crucial part of a business, as it is often necessary for colleagues to work well together, trying their best in any circumstance.

Caleb: This might seem like an obvious question, or maybe just a question that has an obvious answer, but why is teamwork so important?

Stacy: I think that’s a great question to ask, because you can’t take teamwork for granted. Not only that, but it’s obvious that not every person in the workforce is a team player or knows how to work well within a team. If that was the case, we would have a more efficient and productive workforce!

Teamwork is important because it enables a team to share ideas and responsibilities, which helps reduce stress on everyone, allowing them to be meticulous and thorough when completing tasks. This will enable them to meet their goals more quickly.

Caleb: Who makes up a team or who is considered to the members of a team?

Stacy: There are three main components to a team. A team is composed of members who are dependent upon each other, work towards interchangeable achievements, and share common attainments.

Caleb: Okay, Stacy, can you run that by me one more time?

Stacy:  Yes, so, Essentially, a team is composed of members who are all working toward a common goal, who do different tasks to help achieve that goal, and who ultimately depend upon one another to reach the goal.

In addition, a team is usually located in the same setting and is typically connected to the same organization, company, or community.

Caleb: Although with more remote and hybrid settings in the workforce today, the members of the team may not be in the same setting. They may not even be in the same city!

Stacy: Yes, that’s right! That’s why teamwork and being a good teammate is even more important in this day and age. There are more challenges to meet and obstacles to overcome.

Caleb: Stacy, how can a person be a good teammate? What are the things they can do to work well with others?

Stacy: The first thing is to know and understand your strengths. That way, you’ll have an idea of the role that you can take within the group. Second, be prepared to give clear and constructive feedback to other people. Notice that I said constructive, and that’s because you want to build other people up.

Third, give credit where credit is due. Don’t take credit for something that you had nothing to do with. That just undermines the efforts of the group overall. Fourth, own up to your mistakes. This one goes hand-in-hand with giving credit where credit is due. Don’t take credit for someone else’s good work and then blame your mistakes on someone else.

And the fifth and final thing is to say, “Thank you.” Get in the habit of thanking others for their contributions and showing gratitude for them. People will appreciate that you did so, and that will motivate them to achieve even more.

Caleb: Now that we’ve discussed some individual factors of interaction within a group, what does a team need to be successful overall? What are the elements?

Stacy: There are three things that all teams need to be successful, no matter the size of the team.

The first thing is a meaningful and common purpose. A successful team is one that is motivated by the shared values of its members. When your team shares the same sense of purpose, they celebrate and champion each other and this creates a culture of excellence within the business as a whole.

Second, the team needs specific performance goals. You can’t accomplish what you need to accomplish if you don’t know what the goals of the group are.

The third thing a team needs is a commitment to how the work gets done. This means a commitment from each and every one of the team members. They have to be committed to doing what is necessary to achieve the team’s goals.

Caleb: Stacy, what are the key qualities of a successful team? What does a team do well in the pursuit of its shared goals?

Stacy: That’s a great question Caleb, and there are five qualities of a successful team.

First, the members of the team are aware of their shared goals.

Second, the team members have a clear understanding of their individual roles, which we’ve touched upon.

Third, the team members have the ability to display resilience under stress.

Caleb: Stacy, you’ve talked about resiliency before on the podcast.

Stacy: Yes, I have. In fact, I devoted an entire episode to it, which is Episode #149. I encourage our listeners to check out that episode, which is on The VET Recruiter website. Being resilient is not only important when working in a group, but it’s also important to person’s overall success in their Animal Health or Veterinary career.

The fourth key quality of a successful team is that the team members have the ability to cooperate on both a personal and professional level. There must be a spirit of cooperation or the team will not reach its stated goals.

And fifth, the team members have the flexibility to handle whatever comes their way. You can’t be rigid and unyielding, especially when you’re working together in a group. There has to be flexibility, and it can’t always be the same person who is flexible. The load must be shared among the members of the team.

Caleb: To piggy-back off that thought, what can people do individually within the group? What can the members of a team do specifically to help the team be successful?

Stacy: Caleb, great question! There are multiple things, starting with listening. The members of a successful team must have effective active listening skills, which means actually hearing what other people are saying and not just waiting for them to stop talking so that you can finally speak.

Other things that team members should do include maintaining eye contact when others are talking, having open and friendly body language, and responding appropriately to the questions and comments of others. All of these things establish a professional work environment and form the foundation of good teamwork in a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary career.

Caleb: Stacy, what would you say is the number-one most important ingredient in a successful team, if you had to pick just one thing?

Stacy: If I had to pick just one thing, I would pick trust. Successful teamwork is based upon mutual trust. As a group, everyone must complete tasks together, make decisions as a team, and rely on each other’s work. Because of the importance of trust in teams, many team building tasks focus extensively on this skill.

When the members of a team do not trust one another, there is a lack of participation and a corresponding lack of engagement. And you definitely want high levels of both if you want your team to succeed.

Caleb: What are some other characteristics of successful teams, besides the fact that members trust each other?

Stacy: Effective teamwork comes in many shapes and sizes and can have a significant impact on the success of the team. I have four other characteristics of successful teams.

First, team members are willing to share their expertise and experience with one another. They don’t “hoard” all of their knowledge to themselves. They recognize that they must share to be successful.

Second, they complement each other, and this actually applies to both meanings of the word. They complement each other in terms of their talents and skills and they complement each other in terms of encouraging their team members’ hard work and effort.

Third, they’re open to the suggestions of other team members. None of the team members think they know it all and have nothing to learn from the other members. This is a critical mindset to experiencing success in a group. No one knows everything. It’s not possible. So this means that you can learn something from everyone.

And fourth, they rise and fall together. This means that they all take the credit when they’re successful and they all take the blame when they’re not. There is no finger-pointing within the group, nor are there any “glory hounds” who are always seeking the credit for group accomplishments.

Caleb: Let’s say that I’m going to be part of a team and I want the team to be successful. What should I as an individual team member focus on so that I can make maximize my contributions?

Stacy: That’s a great question. There are multiple things that a person should be focusing on as they enter a team.

The first is communication, which is not only the foundation of effective teamwork, but it’s also an important soft skill in growing a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary career overall.

Second is active listening, which we discussed earlier.

Third is collaboration. You must have a collaborative mindset when you enter a group or become part of a team.

Fourth is time management. Of course, not everyone is good at time management, and some people are better than others. But if you’re one of those people who are good at managing your time, then you should be prepared to bring that value to the team.

Fifth is critical thinking. This is one of the most important things that a person could focus on when they become the member of a team. This means the ability to analyze and evaluate a situation in a way that will bring about a resolution.

Sixth is problem solving. This is ultimately how a team achieves its goals, by meeting challenges and overcoming obstacles to solve problems. And of course, critical thinking skills are integral to problem solving, so you can see how #5 on our list leads naturally to #6.

And seventh is leadership. Now, not everyone is a leader, but those who exhibit leadership qualities should excel within a group setting. So if you consider yourself a leader, you should be prepared to do what is expected of one if you’re a member of a team.

Caleb: What about once you’re a member of a group and you’ve been working together a period of time? What can you do at that point to improve your teamwork skills?

Stacy: That’s another great question, because a person should always be looking to improve and evolve, both individually and as the member of a group.

I’m going to assume that you already know what the overall goal of the group is. Since you know that, the first step is to clarify your role within the group. What is it that you must do for the group to be successful? This is one of the reasons why communication is so important? When there is miscommunication, people are not sure of their role, which means they may be completing tasks that will not lead to the group achieving its common goal.

Second, have a positive mindset. People with a positive mindset and attitude think of reasons why something can be done, as opposed to the reasons why it can’t be done. A positive attitude is even more important in a group setting, because that people are affected by others around them. If you’re positive, then it’s more likely that other members of your team will also be positive.

Third, have enthusiasm and share that enthusiasm. Having enthusiasm is similar to having a positive mindset and attitude. When you have enthusiasm, you have energy, and solving problems and experiencing success requires energy, and it sometimes requires a great deal of it. Since that’s the case, the more people who have enthusiasm in the group, the better.

Fourth, do not complain or have a negative attitude. This one is pretty much the opposite of #2 on our list. There is no benefit to complaining and/or being negative. That just brings everyone down and actually be a detriment to the team achieving its goals.

Caleb: Stacy, we’re just about out of time, so is there anything else that you’d like to add before we wrap up today’s podcast episode?

Stacy: Caleb, yes, I’d like to mention that the ability to work well within a team is one of the most highly sought-after skills by employers. And there are multiple reasons why organizations want an employee who can be a good team player.

First, someone who is a good team player provides more value than a person who can work well by themselves but as a member of a group. Second, someone who is a good team player is able to contribute to the success of a team, which means that the team is able to solve problems and be more productive. And third, a good team player contributes to a positive work environment and a better overall company culture.

These are all reasons why teamwork and being able to operate well as a member of a team is critical to your Animal Health or Veterinary career.

Caleb: Stacy, thank you so much for joining us today and for all of this great information about the core value of reliability and a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary career.

Stacy: Caleb, it’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!

Caleb: Before we go today, I’d like to remind our listening audience that whether you are hiring one person or a team of people or looking for your next career move, no one can help you better than The VET Recruiter! Be sure to check out all of our Hot Animal Health jobs and Veterinary jobs on The VET Recruiter website!  We will be back next week with another episode of The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!

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