It’s all about relationships: getting the best from my team

Carolyn and her husband with her team of 5 people

Carolyn and her husband with her team of 5 people

A self directed approach enables me to recruit and choose my own team of staff who assist me to live in my own home.

After 20 years of independent living and using a wide range of services, staff and models of support, I believe the success of my care is based on the quality of the relationships I have with my staff and the work I do to make this work for me.

With the right team you can work with people who understand a ‘give and take’ approach, are flexible and have the will to help you solve problems.

Get the best from your team

It’s essential to be clear about your needs. Honesty is the best policy.  And be clear about what you expect from them. Ambiguity is not helpful and usually leads to miscommunication.In addition to being verbally clear, use a responsibility checklist, or more formal contract.

Model the behaviour you expect from them. If you tell them you will cover their shift then cover it.

It takes skills in negotiation and sometimes creative thinking if shifts need to be swapped or changed in emergencies. For instance, staff contact me directly if they are sick or have another problem getting to their shift. I can then assess the situation, and I generally know the commitments and schedules of each staff person. I may offer a bonus if it is very late notice. If I get stuck I have the numbers of a few agencies that are 24 hour contactable who could find staff.

I rarely rely on family to fill in. Unlike the bad old days when I was constantly getting stuck without support, busting for the toilet or missing out on meals.

Keep the right people

Once you have created a great team it takes work to maintain it. Just like anything maintenance and servicing cannot be overlooked otherwise the whole car will start to shake.

Over the years I have developed a strong team culture. I have had little turnover and I feel very positive about the people in my team and I know they feel positive in return.

One of the things I think I do well is to pay attention to people and pay attention to the relationship. I understand that it is a person’s job and that supporting me is just one aspect of their lives. So I take a really wholistic approach and this has served me well. I put a lot of emphasis on relationship, celebration, positive feedback, focussing on their strengths and keeping them well informed.

While I still need to step in on occasion and address problems with team members, I have found these strategies have lessened the difficulties.

I’m really looking forward to sharing my top 8 tips with you that you can use to create a positive team culture.

Want to hear more?

Carolyn is one of our guest speakers at our next online session on February 26th 2015.

Click here to find out more and register.

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