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How many teams meetings do you go to regularly? If you give a quick answer you may say one or two, but if you stop to count them up you may be surprised at the number. They may include meetings involved with clinical service, training, audit, management and several other aspects of your work. When I worked as a full time general practitioner, for example, I belonged to a partnership, a medical team, a clinical team, a trainers’ group and several more teams—probably about a dozen in all. Given how much time we all spend in team meetings, it is surprising how little attention has been given to running them well, and making sure they work effectively.
Over the last few years I have become increasingly involved in facilitating good teamwork and in teaching others to do so. My interest in this began serendipitously. I was already involved in running courses in reflective supervision. We were struck how many problems brought by the people who attended were about the difficulty of teamwork. We regularly heard of teams where there were simmering disagreements or open conflict. Some doctors told us they found it hard to change the way their own teams worked, and …
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