• The seven characteristics of functional work relationships

    One of the key contributors to a practice’s success is the presence of functional work relationships. Researchers point to seven characteristics that health care organizations should foster among physicians and staff.

    Characteristic What it looks like

    • Seeking input from others.

    • Allowing others to complete their work without unnecessary oversight.

    • Feeling comfortable discussing successes and failures.


    • Including people who have different backgrounds or perspectives.

    • Encouraging those who think differently about important issues to share their opinions.


    • Being open to new ideas.

    • Giving attention to and talking freely about what is and isn’t working.

    • Adjusting routines in response to current situations instead of running on autopilot.


    • Considering current tasks as well as larger goals.

    • Being aware of individual roles and how they affect other functions and people in the practice.


    • Being considerate, honest, and tactful

    • Valuing others’ opinions.

    Varied interaction

    • Understanding the importance of both social and task-related relationships.

    • Encouraging people to pursue activities outside of work.

    Effective communication

    • Understanding when certain methods of communication are more appropriate and timely than others.

    • Using “rich communication” (e.g., face-to-face meetings) for more sensitive matters.

    • Using “lean communication” (e.g., memos) for routine matters.

    Posted on May 28, 2018 by FPM Editors

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