Recognising your team’s strengths

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Recognising the strengths of your team?

For example, do you recognise that others in the team have strengths and experiences that can complement yours and those of other team members? Can you identify them? Where do they come from? For example, before becoming an educator team members may have:

  • been a horticulturalist
  • been a graphic designer
  • been an air hostess
  • backpacked around the world
  • lived on a dairy farm growing up
  • worked in customer service
  • been a nurse
  • had a father who was an IT expert
  • been a florist
  • studied to be a scientist
  • just graduated with an EC degree

Your knowledge of each educator’s strengths and experiences is invaluable to your team and the children. These strengths can help achieve the goals of the team. Do you value them?

Effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and invest in their strengths to maximise their team. They recognise that talents can be developed into strengths.

When leaders value the strengths, talents and interests of a team member they:

  • empower that person to use and share their strengths. This creates a “social constructivist learning community” among the team which benefits the children, families and the service
  • can create an enthusiastic team who feel valued and committed
  • can enhance leadership opportunities by placing people in roles that complement their strengths, then expand these roles into future leadership positions. By encouraging leadership succession opportunities they plan for the profession of tomorrow
  • ensure learning among team members becomes embedded and valued
  • empower the team to achieve shared visions and to get the job done
  • promote happiness, productivity and retention

People perform best when working in their strength areas, and teams perform best when the team itself has a balanced, complementary set of strengths.

Don’t focus on people’s weaknesses or they lose confidence. Leaders must recognise the need to further develop people’s strengths or interests in a supportive environment. Every educator is different and diverse and comes to the setting with skills, talents and experience that are as unique as they are.

Practical ways to identify educators’ strengths and allow them to shine

Educator’s strengths identified How to get educators “to shine” and free up your valuable time How could you be accidentally shutting your educators down?
Has a comprehensive knowledge of care giving to babies Encourage this educator to share knowledge and practices with other team members Allow young, inexperienced educators/trainees to manage care giving without support
Passion for environmental sustainability Encourage this educator to manage room’s recycling, composting, worm farm, energy and water use etc and plan environment learning activities Ignore the educator’s ideas for environmental activities and learning
Methodical and detailed educator Get the educator to help team members work on a system for maintaining portfolios Withhold information to assist planning processes
Keen interest in cooking Encourage educator to implement cooking activities with children eg making bread Cooking activities only undertaken by cook or family members
Amateur artist Encourage educator to plan unique and innovative activities Keep doing the same old boring art and craft
Keen soccer player who participates in local league Encourage the educator to engage children in active play, including soccer games, and to teach them physical skills and concepts Promote individual physical activity rather than team sports
Newly qualified early childhood teacher Recognise that although educator lacks experience she has current understanding of contemporary theories of learning which should be shared with team members for critical reflection to consider in curriculum planning Ignore what she has been taught and keep curriculum unchanged relying on past teachings as the only way to teach

Practical ways to identify educators’ strengths and allow them to shine

Educator’s strengths identified How to get educators “to shine” and free up your valuable time How could you be accidentally shutting your educators down?

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