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In a team, we need to know how to manage relationships and feelings

By Joanna Kats

Last time, we revealed the first thing that the educator, and every citizen, needs to know about team building. Here is the pleasant surprise: Communication aims to create experiences rather than to transfer information. Today, we will be discussing the role of feelings, as well as the stages of team building.

Breaking the ice, to know us better

The first stage requires that we “break the ice.” How? To give an example: we divide trainees into groups of two, in order to get to know each other easier and faster. Then, they present their partner to the rest of the team.

What happens when individuals know each other well? This could hinder discussion. My colleague from Austria, the most experienced at European training programmes, suggests something easy and simple. We ask trainees to jot down five things they already know or even better, to discover new things. That sounds interesting. We could do the same with friends, to see what we know or wish to find out. What is important for our friendship.

Observing the team

Back to training. So, we need to choose ice-breaking activities – note, try to avoid using the verb “must,” which encourage movements and contacts. When trainees move around, it is easier to retain their interest in the learning object. When they draw closer together, it is easier to create an emotionally safe place for action – on the basis of mutual trust and truth. This is what I see in the main photo.

We respectfully pay attention to the “social space” of the team, where members move and communicate. There is a basic technique we could use in that direction, known as “active observation.” We observe attentively what is being said and done within the team. We thus step outside the box of emotional distance, to read the feelings of others. We see how much silence there is; how fast team members talk; how they sit; where they turn their sights, on us or the mobile phone.

In a team, we need to know how to manage relationships and feelings

Diversity as a source of wealth

The importance of managing relationships and feelings

What I hear next puzzles me. Our trainer argues that what matters is to remember that we educators are “managers of relationships and feelings” above all else. My colleagues nod approvingly. Even expertise, you may ask as well. Definitively, the answer would be. I do understand that. Only if we don’t place emphasis on the role of the expert in the teaching object, if we don’t project the “special relationship” with the learning content, could we still raise the interest of our students in the learning outcomes? Yes. What matters is to create “functional relationships” within the team. We would like to know that our students agree to work towards realising training goals. They would like to know that their voice is being heard.

Thoughts in action

I am taking some time off, to contemplate on what I understand to be the first thing the educator needs to know about team building. The educator needs to know how to manage relationships and feelings, their students’ and their own. The break doesn’t last long. Back to participating in the discussion about the stages of team building, with new knowledge. People, goals and rules find their place in a team as well as in the articles to follow.

Have a creative week!

A blogger friend, Joanna

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