Aesop’s Fable: A Tale of Team Building

Lauren Tighe Blog, Dental Coaching, Team Building

Do you know the importance of Team Building? When you don’t understand that each person in your office is important, then the group dynamics can fall apart. Knowing how each individual person responds to conflict could stop some major stress and tension within the group down the road.

Team Work

Have you ever heard of Aesop’s Fable: The Belly and the Members?

Well, the fable reads:

“One fine day it occurred to the Members of the Body that they were doing all the work and the Belly was having all the food. So they held a meeting, and after a long discussion decided to strike work till the Belly consented to take its proper share of the work. So for a day or two, the Hands refused to take the food, the Mouth refused to receive it, and the Teeth had no work to do. But, after a day or two, the Members began to find that they themselves were not in a very active condition. The Hands could hardly move, and the Mouth was all parched and dry, while the Legs were unable to support the rest. So thus they found that even the Belly in its dull quiet way was doing necessary work for the Body. And, that all must work together or the Body will go to pieces.”

Just like the story above, understanding that each person has different skills, behaviors, and personalities could be the key to building a successful team.

Skills for Team Work


Each individual person in your office brings a different skill to the table. One person may be better on the phone or one may handle conflict better. Maybe one may have more patience, one may take initiative, or one may be better at problem-solving. When the team understands what each person’s skills are, then they will be more supportive and tolerant towards that individual. Knowing each person’s skills will bring the team closer together.



From the time you are born, you start to learn behaviors. It’s likely, that no two team members had the same upbringing or type of household. Therefore, they may have different values, beliefs, or social norms. Certain behaviors can lead to group conflict as well. Again, knowing and understanding each team member’s behaviors will allow the team to be more supportive of each other which in turn opens up communication amongst the team.



Last, personality plays a key role in team dynamics. Not everyone has the same type of personality. Your personality is made up of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and that is why it is unique to you. Team members may misconstrue another member’s function if they cannot identify with that individual’s personality. One team member may be shy, quiet, or calm and another person may see that team member as withdrawn or lazy. In reality, that is not the case. That is why it is important for everyone to recognize each individual’s personality.

So, what does this mean for your office?

If you are looking to build a successful and effective team, the best place to start is with understanding where specific people will thrive in their positions. If someone is a little bit shyer, then having them greet patients may not be the best place to have them. They might do better with handling calls or managing insurance. If someone is great at taking initiative, maybe have them ask for reviews or referrals. If you have someone who is outgoing and lively, have them do New Patient tours.

But, more importantly, team building is the best way to bring your staff together. There are a lot of team building exercises out there. Team building is what helps your staff start to really understand each other. It also gives your team members a chance to interact with people whom they don’t really get to talk to during normal work hours. Choose carefully who you team up. Maybe a hygienist in your office doesn’t get a chance to get to know your office administrator – put them on a team. Allow your staff to really get to know each other. Team building can cut down office gossip, can help build trust, and can help everyone understand their unique roles and what they bring to the team.

Team Building Together

So what’s the moral of the story?

Each person brings a different skill set, behavior, or personality to a team. Sometimes, it may seem that some team members are doing more work than others, but that is not always the case. That’s why team building and communication is crucial for every team!

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What do you do for Team Building? Tell us in the comments section below!

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