Managers thinking about their own team

The Professional Development Group of the Learning Institute can provide occasional support to teams and departments. The nature of the support will depend on the precise need, but might include:

  • Team development for new or established teams
  • Support for a re-structuring or other planned change
  • Defining a future vision or mission for a service and agreeing new objectives
  • Providing support in managing or responding to unplanned change
  • Establishing levels of customer service

The specific outcomes of each of the above would be different but, in general, our aim is to enable teams and departments to identify relevant strategies for taking their work forward. In each case, we can provide an objective source of advice and independent facilitation on issues that managers and teams might be finding difficult. In some cases, we will use a psychometric instrument to support the development of a team; in other cases, we will work with a group or department on their own topics. In these instances, we may base our approach on an ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ which enables groups and individuals to learn from positive experiences and build on these experiences to bring about change.

Team development workshops

We can provide team development workshops based on one of two psychometric instruments:

  • The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) explores individuals' preferences at work and outside and considers the impact of those preferences on working with colleagues. It is probably best used with larger groups (not least for cost reasons); or with distributed groups who do not necessarily function as a single team. A typical session would consider: individuals' preferences, the impact of those preferences on a particular issue the group faces (e.g. communication styles or coping with change); and next steps. In advance of the session, individuals are invited to complete a written questionnaire. Feedback on individuals’ preferences is given during the session.
  • The Team Management Profile (TMP) considers the types of work that need to be carried out by highly performing teams; and individuals' preferences, and hence team roles, in relation to those types of work. TMP is probably better used with smaller groups who need to function as a more closely-knit team. A typical session would consider: the different types of work found in high performing teams; the preferences of the individual members in relation to those types of work and their preferred team roles; and the implications of the spread of team roles for the future work of the team, including in relation to particular issues such as change. Individuals complete an on-line questionnaire in advance of the session and receive a detailed individual report on their own profile during the event.

Our experience is that these team development sessions tend to deliver most value to departments and individual participants where:

  • Groups are considering how best to address a particular issue, or are concerned to find more effective ways of working together, rather than holding a team development day as an end in itself.
  • One or more individuals in the group, including the team’s manager, take responsibility for owning and building on the outcomes of the session and for taking further work forward within the group, e.g. during subsequent team meetings. The Institute can occasionally contribute to such further work.

Working with groups and teams

We usually seek an initial conversation with the leader or manager of the team and/or the departmental administrator, to clarify the team’s role and needs. Occasionally, we may feel that work with the team is not appropriate at this stage of its development, for example, if there is an underlying performance management problem with one of the members of the team or conflict between members of the team that is best addressed separately in the first instance. In these circumstances, we may suggest another intervention as a first step, for example, seeking support from a departmental administrator and/or Sector Personnel Officer.

There is no charge for the Institute's time in providing support to teams or departments. Departments will need to resource the following:

  • Room hire and refreshments. The Professional Development Group administrator, Liisa O'Brien can provide advice on suitable venues and caterers. Occasionally, the Institute Seminar Room in Littlegate House is available for departments to use for these sessions, at no charge.
  • The cost of the psychometric instruments, if these are used: £50.00 a head for the MBTI; and £128.00 a head for the TMP.