Earlier this year, I was able to participate in a research project around the dynamics of multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) and how each team member can become an asset to the team. It was an amazing opportunity to talk with doctors, physiotherapists, and sports scientists from different settings and backgrounds worldwide.
A simple fundamental question we discussed was working as a team vs. working alone. There were many answers, as there are pros and cons to both! Alone, I can follow whatever process I choose. I am on my time, and I can move as fast or slow as I want. I oversee every decision and hold full responsibility for the outcome. Alone, I may also be tunnel-visioned, I may be biased, and I may not see all the problems and limitations ahead. In a team environment, I may not be able to work as fast as I want if I am held back by someone else’s slow process. I may have to compromise on some of my thoughts and ideas because the power of the group may decide otherwise. As a team, I will also have many points of view, and I may possibly avoid some issues that I have not considered. As a team, we can also divide to conquer, which should, in theory, help us move forward faster. The most important aspect of working as part of a team is probably the challenges and growth that come from interacting with other professionals and disciplines.
Another important question circled around decision-making and problem-solving within an MDT. We discussed egos and emotional intelligence. Too often, in times of disagreement, we can witness personal egos taking over in a conversation. Having a clear understanding of what the true goal is and staying in line with good ethics helps the team navigate the discussion. It is also important to have awareness of our own personal biases and perhaps our team’s biases to stay on the path to reach the most optimal solution or make the best possible decision.
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