When I'm at work: Teamwork - Learner's workbook
About this workbook
This workbook has stories about people who work in teams. Read or listen to the stories and talk to people you work with or the trainer working with you on this about what you have learned from the stories that might help you and your team at work. There is space in the workbook for you to write answers to the questions and to write down your ideas.
- Alan and his team
- Roger asks for help
- Helen asks for feedback
- Different people, but the same team
- Dina needs help
- Wayne and his team ask for equipment
- Lawrence helps the team
- Vicky has some ideas
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?
- Members of work teams are not all the same.
- Everyone isn't able to do the same things.
- Because team members are different this makes it easier for a team to get the job done.
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?
- Team members help each other complete the team's work.
- Team members help each other solve problems.
- Talking between team members is useful for helping solve problems.
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?
- Giving and getting feedback helps to make the team work better.
- Feedback should be useful.
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?
- Teams work best when we don't try and make others do and think as we do. Its good to be different.
- Team members can come from different countries, where they have different food and religions. Just because they are different doesn't make them better or worse than everyone else.
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?
- All team members need help sometimes to get work done.
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?
- Remember work rules when making suggestions to the team about work changes.
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?
- Share information that will help work get done well with the team.
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?
- Ideas about making work better should be talked about with all the team.