A winning team doesn’t hit a home run right off the bat. It takes time and practice to find and train members of an efficient and productive team. There are many necessary stages of transforming members from individuals with different goals to a solid group with a common focus. These four stages in team building and development have been recommended by experts to maintain organisational energy and will help you evaluate your own team.
During the forming period, everyone in the group is looking at everything which needs to be achieved. Of course, everyone has their own ideas and opinions about how things should be handled. You, as a manager and leader, need to focus your group. The focus should be clear and one-directional to have everyone moving in the same direction.
Work pressure and conflicting opinions will unavoidably lead to group upsets. There will be members who want to outshine the others, clashes which are more personal than professional, and general displeasure at this stage. At this point, you must use your skills to navigate your group through this storm of negativity. Strategic guidance, mediation, and leadership are necessary to keep the group productive and focused on the task at hand instead of each other.
After the initial arguments, the group will begin to understand each other better. There will be reconciliations and a general agreement about how things should be done. As a manager, you should be careful that your group does not become too friendly in the sense that they are friends before colleagues. While friendly, social interaction can be positive, too much of it could overstep work limits and lead to unnecessary delays for your projects.
Once the team has settled into a stable routine and there are fewer concerns about how to work together, they can focus on obtaining the best results for the company. At this stage, management should still be present but doesn’t need to be as concerned with the group dynamics. As a leader, you can now focus on directing your team towards what results are expected of them and trusting that they can accomplish the task together.
Management and leaders need to be aware of the stages a team goes through before becoming independent and functional. If your team is regressing or not moving beyond a stage, it is best to look at the group members as individuals and decide if someone needs to be replaced or another person added. If the problem is not with the members, it is possible that there is not enough direction or support for the group. As a manager and group leader, you must monitor behaviours within your group to make decisions and optimise their performance.