I read lots of articles that discuss the “I” factor that has insidiously pushed its way into the Dispatch environment. Whether you work alone or with other partners in your Center, you are part of a team – whether you want to be or not. You “volunteered” to be part of the team the day you signed on with your department. That said, being part of team comes with responsibilities and requires commitment. Unfortunately, my experience has taught me that where you have a team, there are bound to be some “I” problems. These are easily identified by the phrases like:
“It’s not MY responsibility!”
“I don’t want to / I don’t have to / They can’t make me”
“I’m not going to”
“Someone else can do it!”
Teamwork is a principle that permeates most areas of our lives. Teamwork implies strength in numbers and people watching out for you when you need it. Teamwork has expectation of giving and receiving. No professional team in ANY sport makes it on the strength of only ONE player. I’ve never seen a healthy relationship where the focus of the whole relationship was on just meeting the needs of one of the people involved. I am often fascinated by how whole communities pull together in the wake of tragedy to rebuild and lift each other up. Even geese fly in formation because it makes things easier for them. They draw off of the energy of the bird in front of them to accomplish more.
The choice of what your role is going to be for your Center is determined every shift by the attitude you carry with you into your workplace. Be the change you would like to see. Start monitoring your thought process when you are getting ready for work. Are you thinking about what you can do to make things a bit more positive for your shift or are you re-hashing what was said yesterday, last week or last month that is still bothering you? Are you problem solving some of the little things that pop up when you throw people together in an environment that’s smaller than a residential home with people you do not love and cherish … or maybe even like? Are you trying to come up with ways to address things like radio volumes being too loud, lights on too low, lights on too bright, or someone missing radio traffic? Your ATTITUDE is the single most important thing you carry with you into the Dispatch Center every single shift. With the right attitude, you can be a part of making it a relaxed and productive period of time even when chaos ensues from the incoming calls.
We all focus on “I” sometimes. It’s inevitable. Changing the internal voice from what I expect, deserve or demand into what I can do to help, assist or resolve/solve puts the focus in the right context.