4 Tips for Meaningful Team Collaboration

4 Tips for Meaningful Team Collaboration

Working successfully as a team isn’t always easy, but when we can put strategies in place to support effective team collaboration, the results will speak for themselves. Here are some strategies that you can use.

Did you know that 46% of a typical work day is spent interacting with others (compared to 39% doing individual work?* I’m going to take an educated guess and suggest that the percentage of time working with others would be even higher in early education and care. 

In fact, with the exception of family day care educators, we spend the vast majority of our time working as part of a team. With that can come an array of challenges such as conflicting ideas and different temperaments, or personality types, but there are also an abundance of opportunities that arise from working effectively as part of a team, including:

  • The opportunity to learn new ways of working
  • The opportunity to understand other perspectives
  • The opportunity to make a deeper human connection
  • The opportunity to share our knowledge and skills

Working successfully as a team isn’t always easy, but when we can put strategies in place to support effective team collaboration, the results will speak for themselves. 

  1. Make time for teamwork. Okay, so we just finished saying that we spend much of our time working as part of a team. Doesn’t that make this tip a little redundant? Not at all. As we all know, a day in an early childhood service is busy. We are often planning, organising, answering questions, creating, and facilitating - on the fly. This means that while we are technically working with others, it is sometimes done at such a pace that we don’t benefit from it as much as we should. Making time throughout the week for educators from individual rooms/teams, and for the service as a whole, to come together and share ideas in an uninterrupted way, will see a vast improvement in how we work together. 

  1. Respect team time. It’s one thing to make time for teamwork, but it is very much another thing to respect that time. What does that mean? Think about this scenario: The team at Little Bird Early Learning has a monthly team meeting for two hours. The nominated supervisor sets an agenda, and educators are asked to add things throughout the month. On the evening of the next meeting, the nominated supervisor begins working through the agenda. For one hour, the team “airs grievances” about the dishes not getting washed up, or the hats not being taken out of the dryer. Are these important issues? Yes. If they are impacting the educators, they are important. But could they be handled differently? A note in a communication book perhaps? For most teams, time to come together and explore ideas, wonder about children’s learning, and engage in critical reflection, is limited. Do we really want to spend what precious time we have, debating over who didn’t wipe out the microwave last Friday? 

  1. Create space for collaboration. Obviously, this will depend on your physical environment, but give thought to the space given to educators for their breaks, or for programming, and how it supports collaboration. Are there places for several people to sit together? Is the space warm and inviting? Is the space inspiring with books, photographs, quotes, or ideas? Is the space quiet? Creating a space for collaborative work to unfold is important - it tells educators that we value that way of working. 

  1. Be curious. Ask questions, wonder, be curious about what is happening in the service. Nitin Namdeo says “when you are curious you learn, and when you learn you grow.” When we think we already know the answers, when we are not curious about children’s play, or our practice, we are far less likely to reach out and collaborate with another educator, and then we miss an incredible opportunity to grow and learn. 

There you have it, four pretty simple things that you can do to better support team collaboration and connection. If your team has been struggling to work together effectively, try implementing one of these strategies and see how it makes a difference. 

Did you know that Sprout can also help your team collaborate? By taking care of your compliance tasks in a centralised way, Sprout not only helps your team to stay focussed on the important tasks, ensuring that tasks get done when needed, it also gives your team back their time - allowing them to spend more time connecting, collaborating and absorbing themselves in their practice and pedagogy! 

See what Sprout can do for you today

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