Share4Rare toolkit for patient advocacy
Building your team
If you choose to advocate as part of a team, identifying the correct people to join you will be crucial. Balancing the team so that skills are shared across people will allow you to cover gaps in your own knowledge and abilities. For example, you might be great with budgeting but a bad public speaker - adding a confident speaker to your team will help you represent your cause more effectively.
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Focus on the strengths of your team. If you feel that your fellow advocates are starting to become disillusioned or suffering from burn-out, remind them of their strengths, the wins you have scored from their work and why they are important to your effort.
Some important skills to look for to create a balanced team are:
- Communication skills
- Strong writing skills
- Good with numbers
- Approachable personality
- Good with a team
- Firm in the face of rejection
It’s not important for all these skills to be present in one or two people, as by spreading them across the team you will minimise the disruption caused by people leaving the team.
Investigate the motivations of the people joining your team, why they want to join and what they think they will get from helping the advocacy endeavour.
Managing team conflicts
Teamwork and collaboration are inevitable in patient advocacy. You all work towards a shared goal, and you need each other in order to achieve more than you can do alone. However, successfully working together in a team brings challenges. There can be barriers or conflicts, that do not necessarily need to form an obstacle for the teamwork if they are managed correctly and in time.
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A few tips for managing conflicts in teams:
- Ensure you’re all working towards a common goal. If the shared vision is missing, it’s hard to be aware of the intended result.
- Create space for discussion to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Make sure you understand and respect each other’s perspective.
- Find underlying patterns and find solutions together. It’s both of you against the challenge, not you against each other.
- Locate resources and capacity to solve this conflict: put effort in finding and testing various solutions.
- Celebrate conflicts that are solved, and address the bottleneck to ensure these conflicts do not occur in the future.