What constitutes a great place to work? Of course being paid adequately for what we do is high on everyone’s list. We would all love to be paid more but the company budget seems to get in the way! Besides the monetary reason we all work, getting satisfaction out of what we do, camaraderie with our coworkers and respect from our boss are some of the other big reasons we enjoy going to work every day.

Some of us have played team sports either in middle or high school or even at the college level. We can remember the teams that were the most satisfying and enjoyable. Being on a successful team is usually fun because people want to be on a winning team. Losing teams make people frustrated and can breed negativity. A successful team has many important parts but one key reason for success is the coach. When a team is losing they don’t fire the players but the coach often gets the ax. Teamwork can be defined as “a cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause”.

Think about the qualities of a great leader and often words like; compassionate, direction, honesty, respect toward others, confidence, integrity and supportive come to mind. Exceptional coaches often celebrate the successes of others and keep the focus off of themselves. Being a successful dietary manager/supervisor is really no different than being a strong coach. The manager/supervisor’s role is to understand each person’s strengths and place them in positions where they can flourish and grow. When people feel worthwhile and important, they enjoy their job more and give more effort.

Communication is paramount for building and maintaining a strong team in the dietary department. It’s important to eliminate the often used lines “no one ever told me” or “I never knew we were supposed to do it that way”. Frequent meetings are key to solid communication with the staff. The meetings can be as short as a couple minutes. Anything to let dietary staff know you are listening and care about what they think. If employees are not able to attend an important meeting, make sure the information is made available to them either on a department bulletin board or central area for announcements. Also make sure your employees feel comfortable coming to you with any issues or problems. It is best to clear up concerns before they become bigger and more of a distraction.

Training is also of upmost importance for all employees to feel that bond of teamwork. Always explain why a procedure is done a certain way. Employees will feel more invested if they know why they are doing something instead of just doing “do it because I said so”. If there is lack of training especially for new employees, failure and frustration are real possibilities. Being thrown into a new job with little preparation can cause anxiety and despair. When team members are trained properly they feel confidence doing their job and a sense of accomplishment.

Everyone wants to be on a successful team and make our time spent away from home more enjoyable and satisfying. Work hard to create a positive atmosphere and make our work life a fun and pleasant environment for everyone!