Does your team look a bit like this? Is everyone working independently and going in different directions and you don’t know how to get them back together? Sometimes it can seem like it is impossible, and we are fighting an uphill battle because we have so much to do, and so little time. Not only are we busy, but the educators are also busy so how to we find time to sit and connect with them and ensure everyone is on the same page when they are all working on their daily tasks too?
Obviously every team is different and there is not going to be one magical solution (sorry!) but there are some simple steps that can be taken, and some quick and easy procedures that can be implemented to help get your team on the same path and looking a bit more like this…
Explaining why: Often if people know why they have to do things a certain way, or change their practices, or collaborate with others it becomes easier to process and accept. Sometimes the reason why is “because it is a requirement” but this should not be the only reason. Does it benefit the children? The service? The community? The educators? Reflect best current practice? Allow for consistency? and so forth.
Having clear policies and procedures: Making sure everyone is aware of the requirements and has documented evidence to refer back too. It is important to make sure the policies are up to date, so they match required procedures, and also that new policies are created to fill gaps if a situation arises.
Communicating service goals: By utilising the QIP to explain what goals the service is currently working towards and even how educators can help with these, can support the service to be working towards common goals. This also allows educators to feel a part of the process and connected with their service. You could use something like this…
Reflective practice: By encouraging educators to question the norm, be creative, collaborate together and ask “why?” or “why not?” it supports educators to connect more with the service. Sometimes the reason educators don’t appear part of the team is because they don’t feel part of the team. This leads to them showing up, doing their job, and going home. But if everyone is communicating and asking questions and trying new things and there is a safe and secure culture to do this in, then this can help engagement.
Establishing educator goals: Each educator should be working on a goal at all times, this keeps them engaged, focused and supported. Goals can be anything from working on arriving at the service on time for shifts, to investigating transition activities to help support the flow of the routine, to establishing a connection with the local school and working out a roster of excursions. For more information click here
Role modelling: Often it is hard to be an off the floor director/nominated supervisor/manager and have so many jobs to do that getting into the rooms can be difficult. Depending on what is happening in your service, try and take some time to be in the rooms and role model appropriate skills. Whether it be setting up inviting spaces, being creative with use of resources, following the children’s lead, following procedures, or even just reflective practices, if you lead by example, instead of giving directions, sometimes this can help educators see what the expectations are.
Having a code of conduct: The regulations require services to have a code of conduct, and many use the ECA code of ethics for this. A code of conduct states what one party is required to do/how they will behave, and then what the other party will do in return. This can often be useful for specific situations like a staff meeting, but it can also work to unite a team. It states what educators will bring to the table, and in return what management will provide. Everyone collaborates on the document, so it reflects everyone’s voice, and then sign it to agree to the code. It is a handy document to refer back to if educators are not pulling their weight, or if there is a question as to why some members of the team get more benefits than others.
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