Features of an effective team performance starts with working together on shared goals. Pearson and Spencer (1997) suggest that teams are formed because of a belief that having people work on shared goals interdependently will lead to cooperation (Tilmouth et al 2011). For a team to be effective each team member needs to be able to communicate and collaborate effectively. Each team member must understand their job role and the responsibilities. By work together as a team, the group would be able to achieve more than by working on their own. Syer and Connolly 1996 believe that team members have to develop awareness of themselves and each other, and of their differences, through giving descriptive feedback. This can be done during probation meetings, supervisions and appraisals. Effective team performance is set up through positive leadership, respect, commitment and trust.
1.2 Identify the challenges experienced by developing teams
When developing a new team, it is important to start at the recruitment and induction process when employing new staff, to help the new team member adjust to the new working environment. Sometimes current staff are moved rooms due to staff changes, it is important to look at the team as a whole and see each team members strengths and roles to help work out which team would be best for that person. Belbin’s theory identifies that people play different roles in a team. He suggests that teams work best when there is a balance of roles within the team. New teams need to be able to establish themselves. This takes time and as a manager it is important to understand that it is an ongoing process. It is important to help and offer support staff so that they can develop positive relationships. Tuckman (1965) theory of team development demonstrates the process of forming a team. He suggests that a team has to go through five stages; the forming, storming, norming, performing and last the mourning, adjourning. He proposes the stages should be followed in a predetermined order. The first stage is the team is new and everyone is polite and pleasant, most are eager to start something new and to get to know the other team members. In the storming stage, the reality has now hit everyone. During the storming stage the first feelings of excitement and the need to be nice have likely worn off. Personalities may clash. Members might disagree about things. During the norming stage, people start to see and appreciate their team members’ strengths. Groups start to settle into a groove. Everyone is contributing and working as a cohesive unit. In the performing stage, members are confident, motivated and familiar enough with their team that they can operate without supervision. Everyone is on the same page and share the final goal. The final stage is when the task is finished and the team split up, this is not usually associated in Early Years as the task is not finished but continues and the main objective is always the same, supporting the children and their families, just with different families.
1.3 Identify the challenges experienced by established teams
An established team still needs the support from the manager. Once the team is established the main challenge is that the team continues to work together. Belbin’s theory identifies nine different roles people play in a team. Usually an established team will have all identified their role within the team and relate and work well together. Another challenge an established team has is a struggle to change, they have always done things in the same way, had the same routine and may not be able to see how things can be done differently. When looking at the workload the team need to share the workload fairly, or be delegated tasks fairly, if one member of the team isn’t doing what they need to or has less work to do this could cause conflict within the team as other team members have will feel it’s unfair. Another challenge is misunderstandings, these can be resolved by communicating with each other; again this can be a challenge when working in a busy environment.
1.4 Explain how challenges to effective team performance can be overcome
There can be many challenges to overcome for a team to be effective. How these challenges are dealt with would depend on, the team itself and what stage they are at and also the challenge at that time. One of the main challenges is staff morale; this is affected, by leadership, communication, relationships and vision. To overcome these challenges it is important that everyone knows what the goals are and what they need to do within the team, this is where the manager needs to be clear when giving instructions and set goals which are achievable and making sure that everyone is treated fairly and consistently. The manager or room senior needs to be able to delegate jobs to the other team members. It is important to be able to communicate with each other in the team, having staff meetings and room meetings help as the team are given time to be able to communicate, also having one to one supervisions are an important way to communicate and for staff to share their views without feeling singled out. Supervision can also help with relationships as staff are able to voice their concerns, it also gives the manager, senior a chance to discuss concerns that they might have with that individuals performance and areas that may need improving. Relationships within a team can sometimes become strained and conflict with other team members can happen. It is important that when there is conflict it is dealt with quickly and sensitively. The manager or senior will have to be good at negotiating and listening to the staff, having one to one meetings or having both staff member together with someone who can see both sides to help them reach an understanding or compromise.
1.5 Analyse how different management styles may influence outcomes of team performance
There are many different management styles. A good manager needs to be able to adjust their style at different times to be able to influence team performance. John Adair’s simple Action-Centred Leadership model is viewed as three overlapping circles. The circles represent the team, task and individual. Good managers should be able to use each of the elements according to the situation He believes that leadership can be taught, that it does not depend on a person’s traits and that it is a transferable skill. Whereas Gordon Allport’s trait theory suggests that people possess certain characteristics which make them good leaders and that leaders are born rather than made (Tilmouth, Quallington 2016). Transformational leadership and Situational leadership are two different leadership methods. James McGregor Burns introduced transformational leadership this is usually focused on different ways of leading an organisation going through a change, such as a merger, downsizing, or reorganisation. Situational leadership looks at the situation, the employees’ independence and the complexity of the work. Blanchard and Hersey state that a leader will have to adapt their style to match the level of maturity of the employee. As the maturity increases, the independence of the employee also increases accordingly. Consequently, four leadership styles are created within situational leadership. This model lets you consider the needs of the situation you are in and then use the most appropriate leadership style. Depending on employees’ competences in their task areas and commitment to their tasks, your leadership style should vary from one person to another. Part of the manager’s role is to encourage the staff to work effectively and you must be able to rationalise why you chose whichever style you use. Outcomes can be affected if you do not choose the correct style and that a poor management style will have a detrimental effect of the workforce. If there is a motivating manager who inspires others, then that team will perform well.
1.6 Methods of developing and maintaining: Trust Accountability
Trust is necessary within the team for it to be able to develop and work together. As a manager or person in a management position it is important that they lead by example. A leader who keeps their promises and honours commitments to the staff team will be regarded by staff as someone who they can trust. Trust develops from consistent actions that show the staff team that you are reliable, cooperative and committed to team success. Trust does not always happen naturally, it is something that is usually gained over time. Good communication is needed, sharing information with the staff team so that they know what is happening helps to build up trust but you also need to listen to what they are saying taking on board and making the team feel valued and involve all team members where in making decisions. By giving praise to the team, for their work and effort either one to one or in a team meeting helps to build up trust. Good management stresses that we hold people accountable for what they do and don’t do. By giving the staff team goals and making them feel involved, the more they will become accountable for their actions. It is also appropriate to hold them accountable for things that they have not done but should have done, being consistent and dealing with all staff in the same way is important. By letting them choose a way to try things and giving them time to reflect on their practice without having always having negative reactions when things don’t work, so not developing an atmosphere of ‘blame and shame. Team members will start to feel accountable for their actions when they feel they are in charge of their own success. A manager can use supervisions, staff meetings and training as methods to develop trust and accountability. If the staff team have had the correct training then doesn’t follow the correct procedure then they are accountable for their actions. In staff meeting and supervisions praise can be given and the time can be used for staff to reflect on their actions.
1.7 Compare methods of addressing conflict within a team
Conflict within a team is not uncommon and at some point there will be conflict with team members. Conflict can be caused for a number of reasons like workload, lack of communication, perceived lack of appreciation and personal grievance between individuals. When conflict is handled correctly and quickly it doesn’t have to be negative. Badly managed conflict leads to ineffective team work which has an impact on the rest of the team and the job. If conflict does develop within your team, there are several ways to manage the situation so that conflict can be overcome and everyone can move forward. The first thing to do is address any conflicts as soon as possible, don’t hope that it will go away; this just creates resentment and discontent. LaFasto and Larson’s CONNECT model suggests a way to solve conflict. There are six steps to their model. This model can be used when the conflict is between two individuals. They need time to have a chance to speak and that others listen to understand that person’s point of view, before giving their own say. The conversation needs to be kept non-threatening and non –defensive, they need to be encouraged to use I so not to blame the other person and be able to express their feeling. To end the meeting you need talk to them about what you’re going to do about it moving forward. When the conflict is about approaches to or about the workload, then it is important to find solutions and evaluate the conflict. By keeping communication open and being able to discuss what is not working and find solutions that all team members feel are fair under the circumstances. Dealing with conflict, can be uncomfortable and disconcerting to most team members so it is important that you show leadership to get the team back on track.
2.1 Identify the components of a positive culture within own team
Good leadership will promote positive culture from employees and a negative culture will dampen the mood. There are different components of positive culture within the team they are team working, enthusiastic team members, effective communication and effective team leading. James MacGregor Burns developed a concept, he believed that positive change could be created in teams by fostering a culture where the team were interested in each other. As a manager you should lead from example and be prepared to work with the team to reach the goals, and vision of the setting, the team will see this as a positive and want to help reach the goals and vision. If as a manager you are enthusiastic and passionate them this will hopefully influence the tram to be the same. An effective team work together and the team cooperate with the decisions that are made. The manager need to make sure that each team member has a clear understanding of expectations, their roles and responsibilities. It is important that there are staff meetings and supervisions to allow staff opportunities to bond and share ideas. It is also important to thank staff and recognise their effects and work to show that they are appreciated, this can increases their self-confidence and motivate them. We hold an awards evening, were staff receive awards in different categories, to show that they are valued by the directors.
3.1 Identify the factors that influence the vision and strategic direction of the team
The factors that influence the vision and directions within early years are imposed by legal and government changes to legislation. Some of these changes come about from research and serious case reviews within the early years sector. As an early years setting we must follow the EYFS and comply with Ofsted. Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people. Another factor that influences the vision and direction of the team is the managing director, as we are a private day nursery. It is important that all team members know the vision of the business and where it is going, when there are changes in policies then the staff are given the policy to read and they then have to sign to say that they understand it.
3.4 Evaluate how the vision and strategic direction of the team influences team practice
During staff meetings and team meetings we talk about action plans, we reflect at the previous action plan and see if the targets have been met, looking at what went well, what needs to change and who will do it. Having action plans help to evaluate practice as well as the room and the resources. We also look at the cohort tracking, monitoring the children and their development. We look at gaps and see if there are any changes that need to be put in place to close the gaps in the children’s learning. We also look at what is working well. We then use this information to evaluate and make our next action plan following the cycle similar to Kolb’s cycle of experimental learning, the doing, reviewing, learning from it and planning what’s next. It is important that the team know these aims so we can work effectively together to make sure that we are all sharing the same vision.
4.1 Identify team objectives
To enable the achievements of a shared vision, the team need to work together and know what the objectives are in order to reach the vision. For our team it is to provide the best care and learning environment for the children in which they can grow and develop giving the children positive experiences.
4.2 Analyse how the skills, interests, knowledge and expertise within the team can meet agreed objectives
Within the setting we have a diverse team who all have different skills, interests and abilities. We use this information to look at their strengths and weaknesses to help achieve the objectives of the setting. During staff meetings we talk about what needs to be done and offer different job roles to the staff. If any of the staff team who would like to take on certain roles or responsibilities, we make sure that they understand what they need to do giving clear instructions and copies of the different job role specifications so they can read them. If training is needed we encourage the staff to complete the training, so that they are able to carry out the role. Sometimes we need to give a role or responsibility to a member of staff if no one comes forwards to take on the role or responsibility, looking at who we think is best and explain to them why they have been chosen. If at first the staff member is not happy about this we try to reach a compromise which is best for everyone, offering them support and encouragement to be focused and motivated looking at the bigger vision.
6.4 Explain how team members are managed when performance does not meet requirements
Sometimes team member’s performance does not meet what is expected. Poor performance from a team member can cause conflict within the team. Dealing with staff whose performance is not meeting the required standard can be difficult and uncomfortable, but it is important to address this quickly. Addressing it quickly helps the team to be able to continue to work well and shows everyone is treated fairly. Unsatisfactory performance is usually best dealt with informally. Firstly we would have an informal talk, asking them how they were, was everything ok, did they need any help and explaining that we had notice that they were not working as well as they could be. We would let them know that they were being monitored and support them if needed. If performance did not improve then the next step would be a supervision and report, this is where the room senior has meetings weekly, fortnightly or monthly with the staff member looking at the targets which have been set so that the staff member is clear about what is expected of them. If the performance is something more serious like not following policies and procedures then we would be discussing disciplinary action. We have written disciplinary rules and procedures which we follow to deal with staff’s performance and conduct. Whenever any performance issues are dealt with it is good practice to confirm in writing what has been decided and the outcomes of any meetings.