Teams and Team Building Case Study: Teams and team building. Smith, A. and Langston, A. (1999) Action Plan – How the manager can build a strong team. There are many issues that are affecting the team building process in Millwood Educare Centre. One of the main issues apparent is the lack of social interaction that has occurred so far, not only in the setting but also outside the setting. This is important to establish a team that feel a sense of belonging. Rodd, 1998, also believes in the importance of communication and interpersonal skills,
‘When people feel as though they belong, they also feel connected, capable and competent, willing to contribute to meet the needs of the group.’ The manager of Millwood Educare Centre needs to ensure that all members of the group feel valued as an individual as well as part of the wider team. There have been many issues acting as a barrier so far into this project, including time and money. Although these factors should not affect the staff as professionals, it is obvious this has been a factor interrupting the team building process. The construction of an effective action plan is needed in order for the nursery to run smoothly and enable the staff to work positively as a team and to build an enjoyable work place for both children and staff. Team building can be precisely defined as “a long range program for uniting people into shared efforts for improving the effectiveness of a working group.” (Dyer, 1977).
Dyer defines a cycle of six stages that constitute the team building process. The Cycle of Team Building (Dyer, 1977). When a new group is formed it is sometimes hard when they need to develop quickly into a working team. The following action plan will hopefully help overcome common hurdles that can be experienced in teamwork and help produce an effective and successful working team in the nursery.
1. A better understanding of each team member’s role and responsibilities in the team. Making time to consider relationships and team building within the work setting should come before anything else. Dramatic improvements will be made to the practice in the nursery if Elise has a cohesive and effective team that respect each other as an equal member and feel they have a role to play within it. The manager and the deputy have been asked to work on the policies and procedures for the centre, other members of staff should also be included in this. If this happens then all staff will feel part of the team and are able to input their ideas and opinions and feel a more valued member of the team.
Andreski, R. ; Nicholls, S. (p6, 1996) explain, ‘Everybody in a nursery needs to feel that their contribution is essential to the team and is compatible with its overall philosophy. People might assume that this will be easier when starting a nursery from scratch, but this is not necessarily the case.’ 2. Elise, the Nursery Manager, has many problems in the ‘forming’ stages of her team. If Elise is able to build a good team then she needs to make sure she shows good leadership skills and encourage staff to build relationships and work towards having a team that work and learn together. This should take place before the nursery opens so that the team can recognise any preliminary problems. The staff need to become familiar with each other on a more personal level.
Hay, S. 1997, explains, ‘As manager you need to facilitate this ‘forming’ process by providing opportunities for personal and professional getting-to-know sessions, for example a meal before a staff meeting. You need to be available and accessible, not judgemental, and observing of the ways in which staff are interacting.’ 3. Increased communication among team members about team issues that affect the efficiency of the team. Staff may find it hard to voice their opinions on certain problems so a way around this might be if Elsie introduced a suggestion box in the setting for other staff to contribute. Although there is a possibility that all of the ideas will not be used, the staff will still feel included and be able to contribute.
If Elise were to use a suggestion box, this would also save time, the nursery seems pushed for time before the opening but suggestions can still be made. Regular staff meetings for the team also need to be arranged in order for Elise to offer support on a professional level, it will also help with any underlying issues there may be between staff and reduce the risk of conflict. Millwood Educare centre provides care for such a variety of age ranges and each member of staff has different skills which is important, because all workers are doing different things having time to discuss work issues is vital.
The meetings need to be compulsory to ensure that all staff members attend; staff could be paid for these meetings so the amount of time spent would not be an issue. The staff should be informed of any changes that are beings made and given opportunity in these meetings to express any feelings that they have with the day-to-day running of the nursery as well as personal thoughts into how things might be improved.
4. Greater support among group members. Many of the staff in the centre are bonding as pairs but are not feeling as though they are a part of a wider team. For the team to work effectively all staff need to feel that they belong to the wider team. Although some team members are starting to bond and build relationships which is good, the pairs needs to start mixing with others before conflict starts between pairs. Elise should take people and pair them with a different member of the team and give them the joint responsibility for an area of the nursery, this might be the planning or general organisation of the area. This would encourage ways of working through problems inherent to the team, at both professional and personal levels. Greater collaboration among team members will help the reduction of competition among staff; this will greatly influence the individual, the team and the children in the nursery.
Andreski, R. ; Nicholls, S. (1996) ‘Settings Standards – A guide for the nursery professional’ Nursery World Limited Hay, S. (1997). ‘Essential Nursery Management.’ London: Bailliere Tindall