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Three Most Important Behavioral Competencies in a World of Multi-Disciplinary Team Work

December 17, 2015


It’s no great surprise that a team-based care model can improve outcomes. FierceHealthcare summarizes a Harvard Business Review blog discussing the results of a new team-based care model at Emory University Hospital. The model improved hospital length of stay and mortality rates. It included:

• Structured interdisciplinary bedside rounds
• Unit-based physician/nurse teams
• Performance reports by unit
• Unit-level physician/nurse partnerships

FierceHealthcare noted that as healthcare moves from volume-based care to a value-based model, providers will likely expand team-based care and the roles of non-physician providers.

What does this mean for your talent strategies? Healthcare professionals are not traditionally trained in team-based care models. Even if they are, there is no guarantee they are ready to function at high level as part of a team. Paul Glatzhofer, an Industrial Organizational Psychologist, Consulting Manager and lead member of the healthcare team at Select International works every day with organizations to identify the behaviors that predict success and then build a selection system to identify candidates with those attributes. He tells me that more and more, our hospital clients are looking for candidates who can thrive in a team-based culture. I asked him the top three behavioral competencies to consider when building a team-based model:187007480

According to Paul, “You’re asking nurses, physicians, support staff, allied health and even administrators to function as part of team – not just occasionally on committees, but daily as we re-organize the way care is delivered around the team concept.” Teamwork is a complicated skill but he recommended we start with these three specific behavioral competencies:

1. Adaptability – Everyone in a hospital is dealing with constant change. As part of a team, though, an employee will need to adapt to different viewpoints, different work styles, and the group dynamic.

2. Collaboration – This might seem obvious, but most healthcare professionals were trained in a model where autonomy, individual knowledge and even individual competition, are valued. Each can take pride in their role in the patient’s care and struggle when colleagues from other disciplines disagree with them. Collaboration is a skill that can be measured and, to some degree, developed.

3. Leadership – Leadership skills are always important, but a team-based culture demands a different type of leadership. Collaborative, servant-based leadership models that encourage team participation, value team member input and create a culture where members are free to respectfully challenge ideas, are not common in healthcare.

How do you determine whether candidates have these behavioral skills? A resume certainly won’t help much. Paul leads the Select Interviewing for Healthcare program and sees a well-structured interview is a great starting point. “The traditional interview is pretty much useless when it comes to evaluating these skills. A well-designed interview program can help to identify past behaviors that can give you a better indication of what future behavior will look like.” He adds, though, “The reality is, the data and research establish that the best way to consistently predict performance with regard to these complex behaviors, is a well-designed, properly implemented psychometric, behavioral tool.”

Healthcare Culture


Bryan Warren Bryan Warren is the President of J3 Personica, a consulting, assessment, training, and coaching firm, and a guest blogger for PSI. Bryan is an expert in progressive talent strategies, with a particular focus on leader and physician selection and development.