In our previous post, we explained that the first step in understanding the developmental stages of a team is determining if you are leading a group or a team. If you have identified that you have created a team, then understanding how to lead at each developmental stage is key to effective leadership.
As business consultants who are also psychotherapists, we are very aware of the importance of understanding development and group dynamics in order to accomplish true change. In business, recognizing that your leadership has to adapt to your team's developmental stage will help you bring out the best in your teams.
What are the four stages of team development?
First introduced by psychologist Bruce Tuckman, the four stages of team development are Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.
What It Is: This is a period when team members are getting to know each other. They are looking to assess each other’s strengths and figure out where they each fit in the work. Team members are asking such questions as “What does the team offer me? What is expected of me?”
Leading During Forming: From a leadership perspective, this stage should see leaders focusing on coordinating team building activities, defining goals, setting values for the group and helping people get to know each other.
What It Is: The team has gotten to know each other and now they enter the difficult and critical stage where conflict and competition increases as individual personalities emerge. There can be some bumps in the road and team performance can actually decrease. The team has to work to overcome the obstacles and work through conflicting ideas to achieve their tasks and goals.
Leading During Storming: Leaders need to see the disruption and conflict as ultimately constructive. Building a culture of trust and inclusion that ensures everyone has a voice is essential to moving through this stage. Helping team members resolve conflict effectively can help build a skill set that will increase the team’s capacity for success.
What It Is: Successfully moving out of the Storming Stage means conflict is resolved. The team is cohesive and performance improves. They have an increased sense of cooperation and they can focus on team goals. People are comfortable with their roles and responsibilities and the group develops their own team rules for the team.
Leading During Norming: This is empowerment time. Leaders can role model best practices and help the team formalize their ways of working. Reinforcing the values and behaviors that support a healthy team culture will help the team successfully transition to the next stage.
What It Is: The team is mature, organized and well-functioning. Team members are committed to the mission of the work. When problems emerge, there are systems in place that deal with them constructively. The team focuses on the problems at hand and meets the goals of the team.
Leading During Performing: With the group work seamlessly flowing, leaders can support the team by continuing to articulate goals, empowering the team to do their work and giving them the freedom to function within the scope of their work
Taking time to understand your team’s developmental phase will help guide your leadership style. Like human beings, some developmental stages are easier than others, but they are all necessary to mature in a healthy and productive way.
G2 Solutions has a particular expertise in guiding teams effectively through all stages of development. Contact us for more information.