Team Building and Leadership

Building a strong team is part of staff development.  The dynamics in every staff team will be different. Your role is to identify the strengths and development needs of the team.

Your team may vary in size, year to year, reflecting the number of children.

ELC varies from eg: a school team, as staff are working closely, side by side.

You can access the Realising the Ambition bitesize on Self and Team Care at Highland Digital Schools Hub Recordings Of Training Sessions

What are the characteristics of a good ELC team?

Communication, delegation, clear instructions/expectations, shared ethos, shared aims, sharing responsibility, sharing ideas, sharing resources, positive relationships with each other, a professional approach to work.

Why is team work important?

It ensures the best is achieved for the children, ensures staff are happy, means everyone feels supported, ensures things get done; there is continuity.

It is the responsibility of the HT/Manager to foster an effective team

What do you do to support good team work?

The SSSC Continuous Learning Framework includes a section on personal capabilities. “The personal capabilities aim to describe the ways in which people manage themselves and their relationships with others in the workplace. They focus on how people put their knowledge, skills, values, understanding, qualifications and training into practice. There are 13 personal capabilities in the Framework. Some relate to how people manage their relationships with others and the remainder to how they manage themselves… The personal capabilities have been described across four stages of progression from engaged through to established, accomplished and exemplary.” One of the aims of the framework is to “add value to existing systems for induction, supervision, performance management and employee development” and it could be a useful tool to support staff.

  • Be available, know your team and have regular contact with them, cascading key messages both ways
  • Praise staff
  • Support team communication and address issues across shifts, ensuring handovers across shift patterns are facilitated through a variety of methods including communication books/board.
  • Where possible, plan opportunities for teams to meet together (local Authority settings may consider use of Service Development Time/week 40 for these) e.g. monthly staff meetings with an agenda the team contribute to. Think about when you hold meetings so that as many staff as possible can be involved e.g. possibly twilight or evening. An agenda should be set, and minutes kept. These should be circulated among all staff.   
  • Encourage staff to talk to each other, help each other, support each other
  • Provide opportunities for the team to bond – specific activity, project to work on together
  • Explore and support leadership roles for staff
  • Support the less confident staff
  • Ensure effective induction for newly appointed EYPs ( Induction Policy and Early Learning and Childcare National Induction Resource.)
  • Check everyone’s roles and the level of clarity around these
  • Be flexible 

Sharing Responsibilities

Responsibilities should be shared across the team, using rotas, to ensure all staff engage in all aspects of ELC and take responsibility for their own personal development, including developing their leadership skills e.g. one member of staff should not be leading together time every session.

How do you manage when there are challenges within the ELC team?

  • Deal with conflict in a fair but firm manner 
  • Hold solution focused meetings
  • Coach and mentor those involved
  • Know when to intervene and when to let the team solve problems themselves (get to know your staff)
  • Pick your battles


Sharing leadership opportunities can help to expand skills of some staff.

Some examples could be:

  • Mentoring – experienced staff could support and mentor modern apprentices/new EYPs/Support Workers (school settings could use some of the Service Development Time for this).
  • Exploring possible leadership roles for staff, utilising their strengths and skills or supporting their areas for development.
  • Discussions about leadership could take place during PRDs. This could be linked to the Improvement Plan/SIP.

 The SSSC leadership learning pathway will help you find tools and resources relevant to frontline practice. Please use this resource flexibly and make it work for you.