If there has been a theme in my world this month, it is the art of asking for help. Not just asking for help but doing so with the confidence of knowing I am surrounded by team members ready to step in at a moment’s notice.

“I need help with an interview. Can you let me know if this candidate will jive well with us?”

“I need HELP quick! I have double booked Zooms.”

“I need your brain on this project and a second set of eyes. Do you have time to assist?”

And just yesterday, I reached out to a team member to say, “Help, I am having writer’s block. Do you see any themes in communities that would make a good article for this week’s Rehab Realities?”

So, folks, I cannot take credit for this one, but I hope you will enjoy some nuggets of shared interdisciplinary team leadership tips that were graciously shared with me.

As the feeling of spring has touched some of us this week, I have personally witnessed meetings being taken outdoors, with folks logging in from their porches. Similarly, the lessons shared with me here take us back to our roots.

In the realm of teamwork, nature often provides some of the most profound lessons. One such example is the mesmerizing sight of geese flying together in a V formation. Beyond the beauty of their synchronized flight lies a wealth of insights that can be applied to interdisciplinary teams working in skilled nursing facilities.

Geese flying in a V formation leverage the aerodynamic advantage of reduced wind resistance. Similarly, effective leadership in interdisciplinary teams involves inspiring and motivating members to share a common direction. When team members align their efforts toward a unified goal, they collectively reduce resistance and propel the team forward with greater efficiency.

Geese exhibit a distributed leadership model, seamlessly rotating the lead position to share the burden of navigation. This practice ensures that each member of the flock contributes their unique skills and ideas while also allowing for support and rejuvenation when needed. In skilled nursing facilities, embracing a distributed leadership approach fosters a sense of empowerment among team members and promotes resilience in the face of challenges.

The honking of geese serves as a form of encouragement, urging fellow members to maintain their speed and momentum. Similarly, effective leaders within interdisciplinary teams cultivate a supportive environment where positive reinforcement is the norm. By uplifting and acknowledging the contributions of team members, leaders foster a culture of growth and excellence.

In times of adversity, geese exemplify unwavering support by standing by their sick or struggling counterparts until they recover or can rejoin the flock. This profound act of compassion underscores the importance of solidarity and empathy within teams. In skilled nursing facilities, leaders must prioritize the well-being of their team members, offering support and understanding during challenging times.

The lessons derived from observing geese flying in a V formation offer invaluable guidance for leadership in interdisciplinary teams within skilled nursing facilities. By embracing shared direction, distributed leadership, encouragement and unwavering support, leaders can cultivate a cohesive and resilient team capable of navigating challenges and achieving exceptional outcomes. Just as geese soar together in harmony, so too can interdisciplinary teams reach new heights of success when guided by principles of collaboration and compassion.

Renee Kinder, MS, CCC-SLP, RAC-CT, serves as the Executive Vice President of Clinical Services for Broad River Rehab. Additionally, she contributes her expertise as a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Healthcare and Economics Committee, the University of Kentucky College of Medicine community faculty, and an advisor to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Current Procedural Terminology CPT® Editorial Panel, and a member of the AMA Digital Medicine Payment Advisory Group. For further inquiries, she can be contacted here.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.

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