A major part of teamwork is open, helpful communication. Let's look at the things that staff members say block communication—and crush team morale—in a veterinary hospital:
Judgmental statements. When you judge a person's worth, don't have all the facts, and don't focus on work standards, you're being judgmental. For example, "You're being lazy," instead of "You didn't finish cleaning at the end of your shift."
Diminishing statements. This means playing down the relevance of somebody's idea. For example, "Nice idea, but that will never work."
Certainty. This includes statements like, "It's my way or the highway."
Domineering behavior. These are attempts to manipulate or dominate situations or relationships. Oftentimes people try to control through indifference and passive-aggressive behavior. You know team members are using indifference when you post a memo and nobody reads it. You know team members are being passive-aggressive when they use the silent treatment.
What encourages communication? Describing statements. The ability to describe is key to becoming a professional and being treated like one. You've got to be able to engage in an adult conversation about what works and what doesn't work without feeling threatened. Don't focus on laying blame, and don't fight about who's responsible. Describe the problem and a solution to fix it.