A team is a group of people who:
- Have a clear task
- Are interdependent
- Believe that working as a team will lead to more effective outcomes than working alone
- Are held accountable and rewarded as a unit
When creating an after school team, staff must learn to cooperate with one another so that they can be a positive role model for young people who are also learning to be a contributing team member. This parallel structure creates an interdependent after school “family” who are all working toward accomplishing program goals.
Teams go through a building process before they can become highly performing teams. These steps are:
Forming: team members are getting to know one another and learning about the habits and ideas of one another.
Storming: team members are trying to figure out who will be in charge of the team; what the guidelines for being a member of the team will be, how they will work together
Norming: Staff comes together at this point, making agreements about their performance and interactions with one another
Performing: once agreements have been made, the team is able to work together to accomplish the identified task.
High performing teams do not happen by accident and require a commitment from the team members in order to maintain a level of high performance. The team must be certain that everyone has input into the decision making process, understands that each member of the team is essential as they are all interdependent, and act as gatekeepers for effective performance. The performance agreements that the team members make with one another, form the foundation for cooperative work.
It is important that teamwork is rewarded by acknowledging the contribution of each member and that the end result of working together has had a positive effect and affect on the after school program and its participants.
It is also important to remember that effective after school programs are made great by their people infrastructure. It is the capable, creative, positive, thoughtful people that are the fundamental building blocks of strong, surviving after school programs. Belonging to self-managed teams empowers people to meet their personal potential, and as a result, they can empower others, including the students they work with, to recognize their potential.