Teams are complex beasts, when they work well, they provide a productive, supportive and joyous workplace; where people take pride in the collective effort and want to come to work. When they’re dysfunctional, they turn inwards, lose focus, performance dips and they can be the meanest place on earth to work. Nobody wants to be part of a team that’s lost its way.
High performing, harmonious teams, are your goal. That means investment in their development. Getting the right people on-board, on the right seats is only the start. Navigating the inter-personal dynamics as well as the storming cycle of teams can be a highly charged process. It can take only a small change for your team to get off kilter, with you waiting to weather the storm. Knowing the signs and growing your team’s resilience to this cycle, builds solid foundations and cultural norms that will see it outperform the best.
Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing – Adjourning
Teams have five stages of development – each distinct and each one needing a different response from leaders. The goal of course is to reach the ground of the high performing team, which can only be secured by safe passage through the storming phase. Many teams make the mistake of believing that once traversed there’s no going back over old ground. Yet it takes only one new team-member or some other change, for storming to be back on the horizon. The signs can be missed, storming isn’t always immediately visible. It can catch you and your people out, and before you know it, you’re all making heavy weather of the journey. It’s crucial that you and your people become skilled navigators, able to get your team quickly back on course, to high performance. Sometimes it needs time out to deal with what feels like a wreck, while at others, different interventions are needed.
Those already there, happy in their high performance know that they’re never done growing. They revel in the kind of play and development that helps them cultivate loyal, bonded, high achievers.