Dr Anna Sedda

Dr Anna Sedds is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advanced HE, 2022). She has a PhD in Psychology, 2010, from the University of Pavia (Italy), and is a Certified Professional Psychologist (June 2007) with the Italy National Board of Psychologists (OPL). She has a BSc. & MSc. in Psychology, 2006, from the University of Pavia (Italy). Her Professional Associations include a British Psychological Society (BPS), including being a Education Committee member (2019 - present); British Neuropsychological Society (BNS) (2016 - present); British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience Neuropsychological Society (BACN) (2017 - present). She has extensive experience of running events where scientific findings are translated for a non-academic audience, including using stand-up comedy as a means to engage people with psychological research. She has experience of running projects (research as well as teaching projects), with a more recent focus on teams from diverse backgrounds and multidisciplinariety. Her research outputs are available here: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=xySFzXAAAAAJ&hl=en.

How to develop a WELCOMING team: Understanding, perspective and doing as key ingredients

Resilient teams are not perfect teams. They face mistakes, stress and moments of exhaustion. However, a resilient teaching team knows this is a moment, and they bounce back. Mostly, they can overcome adversity through supporting each other, sharing the load and by ensuring that everyone in team, irrespective of their seniority and background, contributes to the conversation.

Heriot-Watt is a global University, where we work closely with colleagues who are located far away and with a diverse cultural background. In other words, we work in global teams.

Currently, it is not well known what makes a team a welcoming place: studies on teamwork tell us that feeling part of a group that shares the same values, aims that is supportive in overcoming barriers and obstacles, and finding opportunities to grow, is key to success. However, this the end goal, not how to get there. One of the issues is the fast pace of the workplace, and the lack of resources to turn to: teams do not always have capacity to stop and reflect on what is needed by their team and why, so they can improve their experience.

Can we use our experience at Heriot-Watt to promote collaboration, sharing and support and provide a path to building a resilient team? In our research project, WELCOME, we asked colleagues about their wellbeing, engagement, learning, collaboration, opportunities, mind-set, and professional development opportunities when working in a global team. We are interviewing groups using semi structured questions to open the conversation. A qualitative approach, based on thematic analysis, is used to confirm the themes that we think drive the individual experience of working in a global team, as well as to map new themes that spontaneously emerge from these conversations.

The data collected from WELCOME allow to develop principles to guide reflection and collaborative practice in teams that are global in their identity. We can use the WELCOME experience to help others reflect on their experience in teams and the psychological factors that act as barriers or enablers of resilience in practice.

AIM OF THE WORKSHOP

With this workshop, we want participants to select their own (3) activities to develop a resilient team and bring back a positive chemistry between members. Moving from understanding the key factors of a diverse team to selecting activities that target key areas and are tailored to their own context, we want to enable participants to support colleagues they work with in teams despite the fast pace of working places. This workshop is a space to build the basic bricks that participants can bring back to their own organization and to continue a conversation there on how to work effectively together. The workshop aims at enabling all voices and perspective to emerge, so that participants contribute actively and feel inspired.


LEARNING OUTCOMES

At the end of the workshop:

1 participants will have a greater understanding of how to combat implicit biases and avoid “agenda listening”, promoting instead active listening and acceptance of diversity in teams

2 participants will learn the importance of taking other team members perspective for key aspects when working in a team: wellbeing, engagement, learning, collaboration, opportunities, mind-set, and professional development opportunities

3 participants will select a set of 3 activities to build a resilient team that they can use in their own practice and develop an action plan to run them


Dr Anna Sedda