What you will study
Developing better teams is a concentrated but practical look at working with and leading teams. The materials are delivered via sessions of online study which include learning materials in a variety of formats. You will develop a deeper understanding of the complex challenges facing teams today – and you will gain knowledge of approaches used to overcome these.
The course covers the following areas of study:
Picking and knitting teams: This is about how teams are formed and re-formed. We look, not just at putting together a new healthy team, but what to do with existing teams – whatever shape they are in.
Team talk: Here we focus on communication within and across teams. We consider communication as the glue that keeps a team as a team, and discover ways of enhancing team relationships through effective dialogue and information systems.
Teams travelling and challenging together: How to cope with, and even exploit, conflict within teams. We discuss the nature of ‘challenge’ and how to move from mere compromise to effective collaboration.
The 'I' in team - Investment: A major theme in this unit is how we can reconcile individual ambitions, agendas and objectives with those of the team - by investing in ourselves and each other.
Each unit starts with an overview and learning objectives, followed by distinct sub-units. Each sub-unit begins with a micro case study or scenario in which a manager relates a team issue or team management dilemma. You are then invited to critically engage with the scenario, using it as a stimulus to consider your own work practice and behaviour.
Activities throughout the course build up a bank of reflections and responses which can be applied in the final (assessed) element of the course, the work-based activity.
Activities are structured to capture significant reflections on past and current experiences of team-life, then turn these into something of value in the future. This will empower you to take new approaches to team work and team leadership. Participants are supported to develop scenarios in their own working context, and to foresee situations in which course knowledge can be directly applied.
The course features the distinctive strengths of The Open University (OU) from its years of expertise in work-based learning:
- The convenience of accessing its clearly presented and sequenced materials, activities and support whenever suits you and wherever you have access to the dedicated website – if you prefer, you can print key materials to work on them offline.
- The support of an expert learning adviser who can clarify study materials, answer questions and help you relate the course to your specific needs.
- A work-based activity helping you to connect the course to your individual and organisational context and needs. A learning adviser will review your work-based activity and provide personal feedback.
Certification of completion from the OU for those who complete the course. You can use this to demonstrate your continuing professional development (CPD) activity to your employer and/or professional body. (NB The course does not carry academic credit points.)
You will learn
After completing this course you should able to:
- Understand how differences within teams can be turned to a team’s advantage
- Appreciate the complexity of team dynamics
- Chart a typical team ‘life cycle’ and appreciate the value and problems of modelling team development in stages
- Recognise and value ‘challenge’ in teams
- Critically evaluate your own approach to team communications
- Consider the importance of context and style in any transfer of information across teams
- Be more aware of and sensitive to ‘unspoken’ agendas
- Recognise team interactions that nurture trust and strengthen a team’s capacity to support itself and innovate
- Have confidence in reconciling individual ambition with team objectives
- Identify ways of developing teams in under-resourced and time-poor conditions
- Recognise and articulate the value of investing in team development
- ‘Sell’ ideas of team-development back to teams.
Successful completion of the course enables us to recognise your achievement of the course learning by issuing an OU certificate that you can use to document your commitment to continuing professional development in your personal portfolio, or to provide evidence to employers or professional bodies.
Expert, confidential learner support is available when you need it from a learning adviser. Other support is available via the course forum, library, StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.
The work-based activity for this course has been designed as an integrated ongoing activity that you submit at the end of your study. It will allow you to reflect on your learning and how to use it in your professional work.