Team Development - Meaning, Stages and Forming an Effective Team

Teams are becoming a key tool for organizing work in today’s corporate world. Teams have the potential to immediately amass, organize, relocate, and disperse. But, teams are an effective tool of employee motivation. It is essential to consider the fact that teams develop and get mature over a period of time. Team development creates a captivating atmosphere by encouraging co-operation, teamwork, interdependence and by building trust among team members.

The four stages of team development are:

Stage 1: Forming

During this stage, group members may be anxious and adopt wait-and-see attitude. They will be formal towards each other. There would be no clear idea of goals or expectations. Besides, they may not be sure why they are there.

This is the stage where the team needs to write its own charter or mission statement as well as clarify goals. The most important thing here is that goals must have a personal buy-in.

By doing this the team will be able to establish boundaries as well as determine what is expected. Team members will get to know each other doing non-conflict laden task. This builds the commitment towards one larger goal.

Thus, during the forming stage, the team members are in process of knowing each other and getting at ease with them.

Stage 2: Storming

During this stage, team members are eager to get going. Conflict can arise as people tend to bring different ideas of how to accomplish goals. At this time, they notice differences rather than similarities. This leads to some members dropping out mentally or physically.

At this stage, communication is important. Tensions will increase. So recognizing and publicly acknowledging accomplishments also become important. It becomes important to participate in meetings and diversity needs to be valued.

Thus, during the storming stage, the team members begin showing their actual styles. They start getting impatient. They try to probe into each other’s area, leading to irritation and frustration. Control becomes the key concern during this stage.

Stage 3: Norming

This stage is when people begin to recognize ways in which they are alike. They realize that they are in this together. Hence, they tend to get more social and may forget their focus in favour of having a good time. This is the time to help with training if applicable. It becomes important to encourage them in order to feel comfortable with each other and with systems. Also, the group needs to stay focused on goal.

Thus, during the norming stage, there is conflict resolution. There is greater involvement of team members. There is a greater “we” feeling rather than “I” feeling.

Stage 4: Performing

This stage is when team members are trained, competent, as well as able to do their own problem-solving. At this time, ways need to be looked at in order to challenge them as well as develop them. The team is mature now. The members understand their roles and responsibilities. They would require more input in processes. The members would be self-motivated as well as self-trained. Thus, their efforts need to be recognised. Growth has to be encouraged. This is done by giving new challenges to the team.

Thus, teams at the stage of performing are self-controlling, practical, loyal as well as productive. Focus is there on both performance as well as production.

Forming an Effective Team

This is the general approach to forming a successful work team. But not all will take the same steps as discussed above. Success is usually hinged on taking all of the steps just discussed. We have a tendency to want to surround ourselves with people who are just like us. In case you get to choose a team, instead of organizing a pre-formed team, then you’ll look for a team of people with a variety of strengths. In case of a team that is already in place, organizing can be more subtle. Like, all the workgroups can be called together in order to discuss what goals you want to accomplish and how everybody can help.

You will also find that imposing goals on people doesn’t work nearly as well as having them tell you as to what goals they will strive for. But setting goals is not easy work. Too often they end up in being too unrealistic, too vague, impossible to measure, or just stretching into eternity without any deadline.

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Team Building