Week 39 Focus – Team Development: Understanding How Teams Operate
Focus Question: What does your team need right now?
In growing a team, it is important to understand the arc of team development. Teams naturally move through the process of what is commonly referred to as Tuckman’s Model. This series of stages from Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. At different stages team and groups have varying needs.
Here’s what I shared about the five stages of Tuckman’s model in a Teams365 blog post:
The forming stage occurs when groups or teams are coming together, and/or are being joined by new group/team members. Key needs at this stage include safety, connection and understanding what expectations are. As coaches, it is important at this stage to encourage dialogue around expectations, group or team agreements (or "how we want to operate/get along") and connect people with each other as well as with you.
By the second conversation, groups are often into the Storming Stage where they are asking themselves "What? So, who are we? What's this all about?". This is where conflict starts to emerge and can be very overt (visible) or under wraps (i.e. people choosing not to engage and double-booking themselves). Conflict is a normal and healthy part of group development when they have the tools and skills to learn to work across differences. We can support groups and teams as coaches sat this stage by supporting them with a process and tools that help them gain clarity about who they are and what it's all about.
As groups and teams move through Storming and start to create their own identify they move to the Norming stage. We may start seeing the group really start coming together in the second or third group coaching conversation, or even in the morning of a multi-day program. As coaches we can support the process by encouraging dialogue around roles, key goals they are working towards collectively and the purpose of the group or team.
The next stage in Tuckman's Model is Performing. At this stage, the group or team has everything they need and clarity around what they are doing so they can get the work done. As coaches, we can support teams and groups at this stage for pausing to reflect on what's working, what's not, what needs a tweak and what's going to support their results.
Groups and teams will end - whether it is a team member leaving, a project team winding down, or a group disbanding. In the Adjourning stage we want to create the space for people to acknowledge their achievements, learning and start looking at next steps.
Questions to consider:
Connection to the Workbook and Planner
As you consider the different relationships you are in, what stages are you at?
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Jennifer Britton - Potentials Realized
Author of PlanDoTrack (2019), Coaching Business Builder (2018), Effective Virtual Conversations (2017) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (2013). Pick up a copy of any of her books at Amazon
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Jennifer Britton is the blogger behind the popular Teams365 blog, a daily,blog for team leaders and members since 2014. Her latest publication is the PlanDoTrack Workbook and Planner. Pick up a copy at Amazon.
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