Are you one, both, or neither?

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been talking all about Teams and Team Members in my Friday Weekly Reports.  It’s been a very intense and interesting conversation that we have going.

Most recently, I talked about the four success traits that a great team member has and, the funny thing is, it has nothing to do with dentistry itself.  Instead, these attributes are just about being a responsible, positive, and motivated person.

We know no one is or ever will be perfect but that shouldn’t ever stop someone from trying to do their very best at all times.

Today, I’d like to add to my success traits from Friday with one very powerful concept that defines a great Team Member and someone who can work effectively with others.  It really picks up on the whole “Labor” message from last week as well.

If you are one but preferably both of these words then you are certainly a significant enhancement to your team.  I’m talking about two words that are rooted in one but offer completely opposite definitions…

Helpful 

and 

Helpable

(I could add “or helpless” but we won’t go there today as that’s not in the spirit of my message).


My point is that the best team members are both helpful and helpable.  The real secret behind this is that, to be a complete team member, it takes both sides – to a degree.

Notice the subtle balance to these words.  There is a spectrum to each and finding the perfect level is critical.

No one likes that person that is running around always getting into everyone else’s business in the name of “trying to be helpful” (yet, they are usually the exact opposite).

Of course, it can’t be the other extreme where someone is always saying they want to be helpful but they are never around when you need them or show up right when it’s all done and you think just maybe this is on purpose.

What we are talking about is good old fashion selfless desire to be helpful to others, actually asking how they can assist, and then being willing to jump in when duty call.

It is being generous with yourself but also respectful.

Then we have another key trait: helpable.

Yes, this actually is as important because there are those people with the tendency to hoard tasks and responsibilities.  While some never complain, it will always lead to overwhelm and resentment, even if they are doing it to themselves because they won’t ask for help, won’t delegate anything, and won’t let others be helpful to them.

This even extends into teachability – is someone willing to accept instruction and guidance or are they too stubborn.  They must understand that they are doing themselves, their patients, and the team a disservice when you are falling short in being a helpable person.

Like helpful requires selflessness, helpable requires humbleness.  Both of these attributes, helpable and helpful, begin with mindset and intention, followed by awareness and of course genuine desire to do what is best for the patients.

These come to life when you carry out the action of thinking about more than just yourself whether you are helping someone else or able to be helped by someone else, you are doing both for the greater good of the team.

There you have it, my friend, two words that become powerful forces for better and more effective team work.  Not to mention, they make the culture and environment more fun and enjoyable too.

Today, I ask you…

In what ways can you be more helpful to others?

In what ways can you be more helpable for others?

Insightful questions that should lead to very useful discussions, that is if you are open minded and feeling helpable today.

Maybe we’ll throw that other “help” word in the mix sometime soon, but I doubt there are too many out there reading this that need to hear that message.  For now, make it a great week by being ready to help – in anyway it takes.

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