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When I'm at work: Teamwork - Trainer's guide

Chapters

Stories

Alan and his team

Story

Alan enjoyed being part of the team working in the printing shop. The other team members were Jason, Lea and Freda. Jim was the team leader.

One night during dinner, Bethany, Alan's sister, asked him why he liked working with the team. Alan took a while to think about his team and said, 'What I like best about my team is that we all work together to get things done. We help each other do the work. Jason is good at counting the packages, Lea knows how to make the cartons sit properly and Freda watches that the quality of the things we pack is right. Jim helps us stay on time and remembers all the safety rules'.

What do you think are the good things about work teams?

Key points Discussion
  • Work teams have common goals that meet with the overall goals of the service.
  • Work teams consist of people with various skills, knowledge and abilities.
  • It is the combination of skills, knowledge and abilities and working to a common goal that makes a team effective.
Ask for examples of work teams the supported employees are familiar with. Emphasise the positive features of these teams in terms of:
  • common goals
  • the different skills, knowledge and abilities people working at the service have
  • examples where the combination of team members' skills, knowledge and ability has resulted in work goals being met.


Talk about how the responsibilities and duties of work teams need to be undertaken in a positive manner to promote cooperation and good relationships.

Roger asks for help

Story

Roger was a bit worried about how his work was going. He had been away on holidays for a few weeks and was having a bit of trouble remembering everything he needed to do now he was back at work. He had made a few mistakes early in the day and was still having some trouble and it was nearly morning tea time.

As the team was leaving to go for morning tea Roger talked to Giselle about his problem. 'Giselle, I can't remember everything I have to do. My holiday was great but I've forgotten how to do some of my work, what will I do?'

Giselle asked Roger about the work he needed help with, then gave him some hints about how he could do it properly. She also suggested he talk to Carlos, the team leader, to get some more help. They decided that with the hints from Giselle and help from Carlos, Roger would soon be working as well as he was before he went on holiday.

Who do you talk to in your work team when you need help?

Key points Discussion
  • Work team members help each other complete the team's work.
  • Work team members help each other solve problems.
  • Discussions between team members are useful tools for solving work team problems.
Talk about problems or difficulties the supported employees may have experienced in their work teams.

Emphasise the importance of team members seeking assistance from each other when difficulties arise.

Ask the supported employees to provide examples of when discussions have helped solve difficulties for a team.

Helen asks for feedback

Story

Helen had been working with her team for two weeks on a new job. All the team members had learnt new computer skills and were using these as part of their work each day. Some of the team had found it easy to learn and others had found it quite hard. Helen was one of the people who had found it hard to use the computers.

Helen wanted to do a good job. The team members all said she was doing a good job but she was still worried. Helen decided to talk to the team leader, Kathy, to check if she was doing her work well enough to stay with the team. She was going to ask Kathy how she was going. She was going to ask for feedback.

Kathy gave her some feedback. She told Helen that she also thought she was doing well and she would give her some extra help to make sure she felt comfortable with the computer. Kathy also asked Helen for some feedback. She asked her whether the computer training they had already given her could be changed to make it easier to understand.

What feedback do you get from your team members?

What feedback do you give your team members?

Key points Discussion
  • Giving and receiving constructive feedback is an important part of effective team work.
  • Feedback should be useful.
  • Feedback should be encouraged.
  • Feedback should be acted upon.
Ask for examples of useful feedback.

Ask the supported employees to recall times when they have given useful feedback to their team or team members. How did they know it was useful?

Ask the supported employees to recall times when they have been given useful feedback from their team or team members. How did they know it was useful?

Talk about when it is appropriate to give feedback.

Different people, but the same team

Story

Karly's team had lots of different people in it. Ali was from Afghanistan, Enyan was from the Sudan, Lee had recently moved from the city and Timothy couldn't speak.

One day, while the team was sitting having lunch, they started to talk about the different food they had brought to eat. There were lots of differences. Karly had a ham sandwich and Ali said that he couldn't eat ham because it wasn't okay with his religion. Enyan had some food that looked good, but they weren't sure what it was called. Timothy and Lee looked at what each other had in their lunch boxes. On the way back to work after lunch Lee said, 'Isn't it good we are all so different and we can still work together'? The others agreed.

What are the differences between people in your work team?

How do the differences make the team work well?

Key points Discussion
  • All team members are individuals with their own beliefs and values.
  • Teams work best when the members' personal beliefs and values are accepted and respected.
Ask the supported employees to think about the differences between the people in work teams they are familiar with. Emphasise how differences are positive for a work team.

Discuss how the different beliefs and values can contribute to work team effectiveness. It gives a way of getting different ideas and helps when solving problems.

Talk about how respect for other team members means showing consideration for differences between people.

Dina needs help

Story

Dina was having trouble concentrating on her work. She had been to the doctor and her medication had been changed to one that made her quite sleepy in the afternoon. Her team had been asked to finish a big order for an important business in town as quickly as possible. The team were working hard and Dina felt that she was letting them down by not working as quickly as she usually did.

She told a team member, Brodie, that she was sorry she wasn't helping as much as she should. Brodie asked what was wrong and Dina told him that she was trying to get used to her new medication, but it would take a few days. Brodie suggested Dina tell the team about this at the next break. He was sure they would all understand Dina's problem.

The team all told Dina not to be worried, that they would all work a bit harder and get the job finished. They knew she would do as much as she could.

How do your team members help each other get work done?

Key points Discussion
  • Support is provided to team members to ensure workgroup goals are met.
Ask for examples of support.

Ask the supported employees to recall times when they have given support to their team or team members. What was the support they gave? How did it help the team?

Ask the supported employees to recall times when they have been given support by their team or team members. What was the support they were given? How did it help them in the team?

Talk about when it is appropriate to give support.

Wayne and his team ask for equipment

Story

Wayne's team worked at different places everyday, mowing lawns, watering gardens and weeding. They used lots of equipment like lawn mowers, chainsaws and cutting saws and they needed to wear the safety equipment their employer provided. They had goggles for their eyes, safety helmets, heavy gloves and safety vests as well as heavy boots and long sleeved shirts and long pants.

It had been a very hot summer and the team had been finding it hard to work in the middle of the day. One week it had been more than 37 degrees every day. The safety clothing equipment was slowing them down because it was so hot and heavy. Wayne decided to talk to the manager about getting new safety clothes.

Wayne told the manager that they knew they needed safety clothing but it was causing some problems for them. He asked the manager to help them find some other clothing that would be better for wearing on hot days so they could get their work done on time.

What did Wayne do that was helpful for the team?

Key points Discussion
  • Constructive contributions to workgroup goals and tasks should be made according to organisational requirements.
Ask for examples of constructive contributions supported employees have made in the workplace.

Talk about how work must be completed the way the employer requires, and that suggestions about changes or ways to approach work should be done through the team and the team leader.

Lawrence helps the team

Story

Lawrence was the only member of his work team able to attend the workshop about being a team member. He had found the information from the workshop useful. It had given him some hints about working in teams that he thought he could use and other members of the team might like to hear about. The workshop had given him some ideas about how the work team could be even better than they already were.

When Lawrence arrived back at work he asked the team leader if he could talk to the team about what he had heard at the workshop. The team listened carefully to Lawrence. They talked about things they could do differently and decided to try some of them out. They also agreed that they would tell the rest of the team if they came up with any good ideas about how to do the job better. The first thing they decided to do was to make sure they shared any information they got about working better with the rest of the team.

How does your team share work information?

Key points Discussion
  • Information relevant to work is shared with team members to ensure work goals are met.
Ask for examples of work information.

Ask the supported employees to recall times when they have given information to their team or team members. What was the information they gave? How did it help the team meet its work goals?

Ask the supported employees to recall times when they have been given information by their team or team members. What was the information they were given? How did it help them, as a team member, meet the team work goals?

Talk about when it is appropriate to give information.

Vicky has some ideas

Story

Vicky had recently moved from the Red Team to the Green Team. Both teams did the same work but each did it a little differently to the other. For example, when the Red Team packaged the cans one person put the label on and taped the box closed, whereas the Green Team had one person putting on the label and another taping the box shut.

When Vicky moved to the Red Team she thought the team might save some time if they did their work the same as the Green Team. At the morning meeting where they talk about the work for the day she told all the team about her idea.

How does your team share ideas about changing the way work is done?

Key points Discussion
  • Strategies/opportunities for improvement of the workgroup are identified and planned in liaison with workgroup.
Ask for examples of work information.

Ask the supported employees to recall times when they have suggested different ways to do things at work to their team or team members. What was the suggestion they gave? How did it help the team meet its work goals?

Ask the supported employees to recall times when their team or team members have suggested different ways to do things. What was the suggestion? How did it help them meet the team work goals?

Talk about when it is appropriate to give suggestions about changes at work.

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