Question: I am the office manager and need your advice on teamwork...

Working as a team and not just with one person in the front office. I have an employee who tends to only want to work with one other employee and not as a whole team. When I am there covering, she never offers help – only when her preferred person is working the front. I always have to ask her to help or step in. Can you help me figure out how to get someone to help the entire team more?

ANSWER:  It sounds like you have a tough issue but one that I think many office managers deal with. I think of the limited information you have told me that you have one of 3 issues going on:[mepr-show if=”loggedout”]Members only resources[/mepr-show] [mepr-active memberships=”629,630,37388,37393,37672,37676,37670,37668,37674,44674,232156″ ifallowed=”show” unauth=”message” unauth_message=”Answer hidden, please login or purchase a membership to view.”]

  1. ) She needs to be trained better with the importance of working with a team and being a team player. Many times we just expect that people know how do to that and why it is important but not everyone is good at it. I suggest that you sit down with her and specifically explain to her why helping the team out is important and working as a team. Give her examples of what she does that shows she is not a team player and how you would recommend that she should have handled those situations. Ask her if she fully understands what you are saying and have her tell you in her own words what she thinks she could do better and make sure she is willing to try.
  2. ) There is an issue between her and other employees that need to be addressed. If there is a situation where she is working well with one or two people but not with others, then it sounds like there is a conflict there that needs to be handled. I would again sit her down and find out what is going on. Once you find out if there is something between her and someone else, you then need to handle that issue. I would suggest that you have a meeting with anyone involved in the conflict to help them to work it out and explain to them that their job is to work as a team to take care of patients, no matter what personal things they have going on. Their jobs depend on them figuring out the situation and moving on so they patients can be taken care of fully.
  3. ) Potentially, you have someone either in the wrong position in the office or not a fit for the office all together. Once you have addressed any other issues, like listed above, if she still doesn’t improve, then you have to decide if she is either in the wrong position and needs to be moved to a spot in the office that does not require teamwork or maybe she needs to find a new job.

Sometimes, employees are just not going to get better or maybe they were good once but now have hit their ceiling of what they are willing to do in their position in the office. When that is determined, then the best thing to do is to ensure that the employee is clear on what you expect from them and if they can’t do it or are not willing to, then you have to make the decision to help them find a place that suits them better and gives your team the chance to find someone who is willing to jump in and support your team.[/mepr-active]