Building and supporting teamwork
Effective teamwork supports the achievement of common goals for improving the quality of care and education. When educators function well as a team they are respectful and supportive of each other. Positive relationships and collaboration are crucial in creating an environment where children feel safe secure and happy. Teamwork is also essential for building positive relationships with families.
Why is teamwork important?
A team is important in creating positive outcomes for children’s development of strong attachments and relationships between children and educators. Effective teamwork contributes to stability in our centres by improving self-esteem, job satisfaction and morale of educators which can reduce stress and burnout. It is also crucial to achieving goals and accomplishing tasks.
What makes a successful team?
In successful teams individuals realise that group goals and directions are more important than individual aims. The potential for conflict arises when different philosophies, values and ideas within the group are not listened to or respected. The ability of a group of people to listen to different view points, to resolve differences and reach common solutions to problems allows a successful team to emerge.
Reflecting on the following questions may assist teams to work successfully together:
- Do we communicate openly and honestly?
- Do we have support systems in place for example mentors and a conflict resolution process that all educators are aware of?
- Are we committed to sharing responsibilities?
- Do we seek to find common ideas and values?
- Are we dedicated to solving problems?
The following 5 steps process for team building may be helpful:
- Set achievable goals
- Clarify roles
- Build supportive relationships
- Encourage active participation
- Monitor team effectiveness.
Team work requires individuals to commit to working as part of a group and welcoming new team members as they arrive. In essence having clear written procedures and effective information sharing can assist educators to adopt a consistent approach to their practices and support each other. Educators need to commit to regularly reviewing policies and procedures and to engaging in professional development and team building. Effective communication is a key element of successful teamwork.
To communicate well within a team all educators need to:
- Engage in active listening
- Share information
- Respect and appreciate the values, knowledge and skills of others
- Solve problems collaboratively
- Resolve conflict positively.