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The NSPA Blog

Baa Baa Black Sheep and Team Unity

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Posted on November 13th, 2017 by Teri Dreher, under Take Charge

Does your office have a “black sheep?”

What do you think of when you hear the term black sheep? Personally, my mind first goes to the nursery rhyme. Lately, though, I think about how this role can manifest in the workplace. In my experience, finding the black sheep at a company or business is never too hard. Whether you’re a new employee or a seasoned team member, everyone knows who the black sheep is. They’re either talked about as part of office gossip, the one the boss is always coming down hard on, or the one that no one is surprised to see fail.

Image result for black sheep

How does the black sheep affect us?

Many times, whether or not we actually acknowledge it, we like having a black sheep in the office. They make us feel better about ourselves and our own shortcomings. Sure, we could have done better on X project, but at least we’re not being made fun by other employees or lectured by the manager again. The problem is, especially in health care careers, having a black sheep – and relying on their shortcomings – makes the whole team weaker. Everyone wants to do their best. Still, we must see our team as a whole, only as a strong as our singular unit. Just as we ask clients to take responsibility for their health, we need to take charge of our own flaws and failings.

Comparing ourselves to others is never a good idea

When we compare ourselves to others, one of two things happen. We either feel bad about our own performance, because someone else did better, our good about ourselves, because we did better than someone else. Problems and issues arise from both of these outcomes. First, beating ourselves up when we don’t feel we’ve performed as well as someone else is unproductive. My mom calls it “stinkin’ thinkin.” We’re all different people, who bring a unique perspective to the table. If we see someone else struggling, no matter with what, we should try to help.

With over 36 years of clinical experience in Critical Care nursing, home based health care and expertise as a cardiovascular nurse clinician, Teri is well acquainted with the complexities of the modern healthcare system. She has served as a nursing leader, mentor, educator, and consistent patient advocate throughout her career in some of the best hospitals across the country. Her passion to keep the patient at the center of the model of nursing care led her to incorporate NShore Patient Advocates, LLC in 2011, serving clients throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago.

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