In professional teams responsibilities vary in terms of range and complexity. However, everyone is part of the team. Everyone’s work is important. It is a sad fact that in professional environments this is not always recognized. Sometimes a ‘them and us’ attitude between professionals and support people is evident. Sometimes professionals do not acknowledge sufficiently the contributions that the support people make.
Here are some thoughts on how to demonstrate that everyone’s work is important:
Let everyone know how their contributions impact directly on the quality of service to clients and how their responsibilities fit into the team’s effort.
Introduce support people to clients when they make visits to the office.
Involve all team members in meetings, at which, for instance, assignments or projects are being planned. This way they can see how their work fits in.
When celebrating successes, emphasize the work of the support people. For example, highlight how the quality of word-processed documents and their delivery on time contributed to a first-class outcome.
Seek the ideas of all colleagues for improving team working practices and administrative processes.
As team leader, if you are aware that one or two of your professional colleagues behave in a rather abrupt, perfunctory or superior manner towards support people then don’t let it go! Take them on one side and give them some feedback. But do it sensitively (see Helping Team Members to Get the Best Out of Themselves ).
When all team members know that their work is valued and recognized as making a major contribution to success then you have the foundation stone in place for good performance.