Tribes and Tribalism

Posted by: Jess Anderson - Posted on:

I went to a really interesting session at the Leadership Academy with the Clinical Fellows about Tribes and Tribalism and it really got me thinking about how we end up in tribes and what we as managers can do to cut through these tribes and start working together. It also highlighted all the exciting things you can get involved in outside of the day job while you’re on the scheme. ?  

A few things struck me about the conversations and activities we undertook during the day. It was interesting how when we first entered the room we all sat in our tribes – clinical fellows on one table, grad scheme managers on another, it was a subconscious rather than conscious decision and it made me think why do we do this? I’m definitely guilty of this, seeking out people I know and have common interests with in a room full of people, rather than getting to know others. Part of this is because I’m a bit awkward in these situations (despite all the work the Grad Scheme puts into to making you feel less awkward). But it’s also because in a room full of highly trained professionals, whether it be doctors, nurses or any other healthcare professionals, I feel intimidated both by their knowledge and my perception of how they view me as a manager. But I realise that if I continue to act like this, it’s not really going to help break down any tribal barriers, so as the great Alan Nobbs said I need to ‘pull up my big girl pants’ and push myself out of comfort zone and just talk to people! At the end of the day we’re all people who hopefully share the common goal of wanting to help patients, so surely it shouldn’t be that difficult to have conversations?

Easier said than done I know, but we have to start somewhere! I think there’s a tendency to make assumptions about why managers and health care professionals behave in the way they do, but how many of us actually stop to ask what triggers this behaviour? Perhaps if each side of the tribal divide started asking these questions it would start to break down these barriers. As a manager I think it’s about having a visible presence on the ward or service you’re managing or work with, rather than having a token visit every few weeks. I think it’s important to understand that it won’t necessarily be an easy process (where would the fun be if everything was easy?), but it’s about persevering even when it gets tough. I’ll remind myself of this when a clinician, nurse or AHP wants to talk to me!! ?

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Alert: GMTS Scheme applications are now closed for 2024 entry