Team leadership skills include being prepared to direct and coordinate the activities of other team members, assess team performance, assign tasks, motivate team members and establish a positive environment. This involves the anesthesia specialist possessing the ability to monitor teammate performance, anticipate other member needs and shift workload among members as needed to achieve balance.
Maintaining belief in the importance of the team goals over other individual member goals will help you to adjust strategies based on information gathered in the environment. Recognize the relationship between the task the team is engaged in and how the team members will interact. Anticipate the needs of the others and promptly identify changes in the team or task.
Build and maintain trust by sharing information and your willingness to accept feedback. This includes an open willingness to admit mistakes. Engage in closed-loop communication such as acknowledging that a message to you was received and follow up with team members to ensure your messages are received by them.
Communication as a Professional Requirement
Anesthesiologists communicate with other health professionals and patients on multiple levels every day. The quality and quantity of anesthesia specialists’ communications has a bearing on the values, outcomes and standards of their professional work. Recognizing the importance of communication, the American Society of Anesthesiologists has charged the Committee on Communication to “improve public education as it relates to anesthesiology.” Good communication is as important to protecting professional integrity as it is to patient safety and satisfaction.
Anesthesiologists face communication challenges that are unique to the circumstances of anesthesia practice. Their contact with conscious patients is usually brief, so well-honed communication skills are helpful during such circumstances. Patient anxiety or an atmosphere of rushed care may influence effective pre-anesthetic communication. Medication-clouded consciousness makes post-anesthetic communication challenging. Communication acquires a context-specific meaning and action. Thus, clear, succinct, respectful communication commands leadership and is essential to working in the compressed time frame presented by anesthesia practice.
Manners, habits, appearances, and interpersonal skills affect the impression the anesthesiologist makes on patients or other colleagues. Intentional actions can become non-conscious, automatic, completely learned and applied to positive ends, with practice.
Indeed, residency training places emphasis on acquiring professional standards and embodying professional norms of behavior and communication. Association with an anesthesia medical group such as Medical Anesthesia Consultants in northern California provides continued positive reinforcement and support. Becoming aware of one’s individual patterns of language and behavior thus becomes a starting point for improved professional communication and development of sound leadership skills.
Leadership and Communication in the Perioperative Setting. Health Quality & Safety Commission, hqsc.govt.nz
Anesthesiologists and Perioperative Communication. Anesthesiology, anesthesiology.pubs.asahq.org