This unit of competency is applicable to senior technical officers and laboratory supervisors working in all industry sectors.
Industry representatives have provided case studies to illustrate the practical application of this unit of competency and to show its relevance in a workplace setting. These can be found at the end of this unit of competency under the section 'This competency in practice'.
Elements and Performance Criteria
1. Promote team effectiveness
1.1. Clearly define and communicate team goals and roles
1.2. Promote respect for team members through coaching and example
1.3. Achieve balanced participation in discussions and activities
1.4. Negotiate work roles to balance team goals, job requirements and team members' strengths, experience, work style and career goals
1.5. Apply effective conflict resolution processes and implement them fairly
1.6. Provide effective links between senior management, other teams and the work team
1.7. Encourage networking to share experiences, expertise and resources
2. Identify and develop individual potential
2.1. Assess each team member's strengths and weaknesses against agreed performance requirements, and identify training and development options in consultation with them
2.2. Provide opportunities to develop skills through allocation/rotation of work tasks and roles
2.3. Encourage the sharing of knowledge and skills through coaching, mentoring and shadowing
3. Monitor individual and team performances
3.1. Review each team member's performance on a regular basis with the individual
3.2. Recognise achievements and address problems with performance
3.3. Provide constructive feedback on the performance of the team and team members
3.4. Record information relating to individual and team performance following enterprise/statutory procedures
Required skills include:
using interpersonal and communication strategies
applying conflict resolution processes
working effectively with team members who may have diverse work styles, cultures and perspectives
promoting team cohesion and effectiveness
improving team and individual performance
monitoring team and individual performance
Required knowledge includes:
the organisational structure and layout of the laboratory and enterprise
enterprise/statutory policies and procedures relating to access and equity
staff/workgroup practices, relevant sections of industrial awards and enterprise bargaining agreements
key principles of team dynamics, team leadership and management
interpersonal/communication strategies for a diverse workforce
conflict resolution strategies and processes
key principles of performance management systems
performance outcomes expected and key indicators
operating budgets and plans for work area
relevant health, safety and environment requirements
The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.
Overview of assessment
Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit
Assessors should ensure that candidates can:
work effectively with team members who may have diverse work styles, cultures and perspectives
promote team cohesion and effectiveness
measure and improve team and individual performance
monitor team and individual performance.
Context of and specific resources for assessment
This unit of competency is to be assessed in the workplace or simulated workplace environment.
Competency in this unit should be assessed over a sufficient period of time to enable the candidate to initiate and implement improvements.
This unit of competency may be assessed with:
MSL916003A Supervise laboratory operations in work/functional area.
Resources may include:
relevant OHS, equal opportunity, licensing, registration policies and procedures
workplace procedures and standard operating procedures (SOPs)
industrial awards and enterprise agreements.
Method of assessment
The following assessment methods are suggested:
review of record systems and documentation of team outputs and performance
feedback from team members about team processes
feedback from managers about team performance
feedback from customers serviced by the team
observation of the candidate during team meetings and contact with individual team members
interview questions with the candidate to assess underpinning knowledge of team dynamics, leadership and management.
In all cases, practical assessment should be supported by questions to assess underpinning knowledge and those aspects of competency which are difficult to assess directly.
Where applicable, reasonable adjustment must be made to work environments and training situations to accommodate ethnicity, age, gender, demographics and disability.
Access must be provided to appropriate learning and/or assessment support when required.
The language, literacy and numeracy demands of assessment should not be greater than those required to undertake the unit of competency in a work like environment.
This competency in practice
Industry representatives have provided the case studies below to illustrate the practical application of this unit of competency and to show its relevance in a workplace setting.
Construction materials testing
A materials testing laboratory introduced a mentoring system as part of its laboratory work team's program. Laboratory assistants and technicians were placed in work teams that included technical specialists. This strategy was designed to enable less experienced team members to develop advanced technical skills on the job. The team leader acted as the mentor, monitored the competency of the less experienced team members and organised work tasks to further develop their skills. For example, as part of a quality improvement project, the team was asked to propose a way of minimising waste disposal. After discussing a number of alternatives, the team narrowed down the choice to one feasible suggestion, and then investigated the cost and environmental implications with the guidance of the team leader.
Two technical officers working in the haematology section of a large hospital laboratory explained to their supervisor that they would like to gain experience of making blood films, having learned the basic skills during their initial training. The supervisor agreed, but first assessed their competency against enterprise standards and recognised that they could benefit from some on-the-job training. The supervisor arranged for them to be coached by a more experienced team member. Some time later, they were assessed as competent and able to regularly perform the task.
The new laboratory supervisor of a food processing company was keen to develop the professionalism of the laboratory team. The supervisor wanted to enhance the team's level of cooperation, participation in the ongoing development of the quality management system and willingness to suggest refinements to the food analyses that they performed. Neither the supervisor nor the team of technicians believed they had the time to devote to in-house professional development exercises. In any event, the technicians were dubious about the effectiveness of these activities. Instead, the supervisor offered to meet the costs of the technicians joining a professional society of their choice, provided that it was closely related to the work performed in the laboratory. Most of the staff accepted this offer. Over the next few months, a significant improvement in the enthusiasm of the staff and the quality of their work occurred. The supervisor attributed this to an increased sense of esteem for their profession, the forging of links with the laboratory staff of other companies and the opportunity to discuss their work within a wider circle of peers. Some technicians made the time to visit other laboratories, where they were able to assess new work practices and the merits of instrumentation not used in their own workplace. Overall, the supervisor found that the benefits to the operation of the laboratory team greatly outweighed the modest financial cost involved.
The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.
Codes of practice
Where reference is made to industry codes of practice, and/or Australian/international standards, it is expected the latest version will be used
be ongoing with responsibility for particular services or functions
be project based
have a mixture of full and part-time employees and contractors
be separated by distance and work at sites outside the laboratory
Team operation may occur in:
small, medium and large contexts
internal and external environments
enterprise guidelines covering access and equity principles and practices, licensing requirements, industrial awards and enterprise bargaining agreements
agreed responsibility and accountability requirements
appropriate goals and objectives
given resource parameters
Methods for promoting team cohesion
Methods for promoting team cohesion may include:
providing clear information and directions when devolving responsibility and accountability
organising regular team meetings
involving the team in planning and allocation of tasks
encouraging the team to openly propose, discuss and resolve issues
dealing with conflict before it adversely affects team performance
treating people openly and fairly
recognising individual and cultural differences
recognising and rewarding achievement
Methods for improving team and individual performance
Methods for improving team and individual performance may include:
using appropriate continuous improvement processes to improve team planning and results
analysing barriers to team effectiveness and developing appropriate strategies to overcome them
recording individual and team performance
monitoring individuals' outputs and providing constructive feedback
identifying and utilising individuals' strengths
identifying individuals' training needs and providing development opportunities
supporting the team to share knowledge and skills
Monitoring team performance
Monitoring team performance may include:
applying enterprise performance management systems
communicating with senior management, team members and the team as a whole
recording and updating confidential personal data
applying total quality management principles
Identifying individual potential
Identifying individual potential may require:
comparisons of work requirements against outputs
competency-based assessment against standards or enterprise requirements
Communication issues within and between teams
Communication issues within and between teams may include:
critical events on shift
urgent or abnormal results that require attention
problems with instruments, reagents, tests and sampling
equipment and material shortages
changes to work priorities, schedules and rosters
Documentation may include:
job descriptions and person specifications
workplace procedures, occupational health and safety (OHS) and equal opportunity policies
industrial awards and enterprise agreements
Occupational health and safety (OHS) and environmental management requirements
OHS and environmental management requirements:
all operations must comply with enterprise OHS and environmental management requirements, which may be imposed through state/territory or federal legislation - these requirements must not be compromised at any time
all operations assume the potentially hazardous nature of samples and require standard precautions to be applied
where relevant, users should access and apply current industry understanding of infection control issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and State and Territory Departments of Health
This unit contains employability skills.