Relationships in the Team are Stressed or Strained

It is well documented that positive relationships are a key to effective and efficient teamwork. It is equally well established that teams do not always function well; at times, they function so poorly that their results have negative consequences for the team, team outcomes, and team members. There are several characteristics that effective teams demonstrate .

· Establish a clear vision and focus for the team.

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· Define a specific outcome for the team.

· Establish rules or norms for positive group interaction (e.g., be respectful of other’s ideas; listen to other members of the team)

· Share with members of the team know what is expected of them.

· Make assignments based on each team member’s strengths.

· As a coordinator, serve both the agency leadership and your team members.

· Clarify to team members what your agency director expects of you.

· Ask your team members what they need from you to help them fulfill their responsibilities.

· As a coordinator, demonstrate excellent professional behavior and hard work.

· Provide positive feedback to the team and individual members of the team.

· Directly address issues and challenges of quickly using an established process.

There are also some guidelines that we consider essential if you are going to be a positive contributing member of any group. Many of these reflect your own personal orientation to the work. And these personal characteristics and orientation will serve you well in most aspects of your work as a case manager.

· Be honest and trustworthy in your work. Be clear about your work, your confusions, your questions, your intentions.

· Focus on your responsibility. Accept feedback for your work.

· Understand that communication is challenging and that misunderstandings will occur. Your goal is to improve communication once miscommunication occurs.

· Modify your responses to teamwork as they change. Teamwork requires you to expand your understandings, assume new responsibilities, and give up responsibilities. Working on a team is a dynamic process.

· Be willing to do extra work if it is required or needed.

· Meet your obligations; inform others if you cannot do so.

· Ask for help if you need it.

· Do not talk about the team outside the team meetings.

The characteristics of effective teams and suggestions about the ways you can support positive teamwork will help guide your behavior as a team member. Teams have a critical role to play in the social services and especially in the case management process, where improving clients’ lives is the goal. Each member has a part to play in building a successful team. You can help build healthy teams.

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