Navigating Turbulence when Forming New Teams
You can’t predict the path forward when facing new challenges. But leading a new team, thanks to “Tuckman’s Stages,” has elements of predictability.
Four stages – plus one:
- Mission – What are we here to do?
- Introductions – Who are we?
- Stories – Tell stories of past teams that thrived. What made them thrive?
- Timeline – How long do we have to complete our mission? (Operations teams establish intermediate goals.)
- Engagement – What contributions will each team member make?
Tip: Everyone at the table leaves with an assignment. This is especially true at the beginning. No drifting allowed.
You shouldn’t be at the meeting if you consistently leave without something to do.
- Navigate respect and status.
- How will we respond to new ideas?
- How will we respond to failure?
- How will we treat each other when we disagree?
- Celebrate diversity – how will we leverage each other’s strengths and compensate for each other’s weakness?
Tip: Team leadership requires you to notice tension and bring it up. The issues you avoid get worse. They don’t magically disappear.
- Collaboration – you maximize each other’s strengths.
- Standardization – you know how to respond to tension, conflict, and failure.
- Monitor – team leaders monitor team interaction for reversion to the storming stage.
Tip: Team leadership is less hands-on. Team members take initiative and responsibility. Work yourself out of being central to your team’s success.
- Mission focus – teams focus more on the mission and less on navigating relationships.
- Interdependence – you learn when and how to count on each other.
- Celebrate success.
- Face new challenges.
*The fifth stage was added due to contribution of Mary Jensen.
Team leaders have four concerns.
- Monitor team interactions.
- Maximize everyone’s strengths.
- Bring up issues others might avoid.
- Deliver great results through others.
Effective interactions are the foundation of great results.
What suggestions might help people lead through the five stages of group development?
When leading teams, what should team leaders focus on?
*Stages of Small-Group Development Revisited, by Bruce Tuckman and Mary Jensen.
Thanks for good materials that you are sharing with!
Can you come up with some ideas/tips or even a couple of articles on how to prevent conflict within your team or how to deal with/manage/solve if a conflict emerges between two/more team members, or between team leader and member (s)? What steps are needed to be taken to defuse the conflict?
best and thanks,
I meant Den, My apology!
I am a regular reader and user of the knowledge shared in this forum, and I am a big proponent this understanding of group formation. It is actually something that frequently gets fed back to me as a thing that made an impact. With that in mind, I’m wondering if anyone has thoughts about how you use this understanding with groups that are not “process friendly.” because they are used to working together, or some of them are used to working together? How do you address the groups or the individual who do not value articulating the important things included in Mission above?
In some settings, I observe and then reflect what I see as group norms for feedback. I build a strong understanding of the content, and then pose questions about potential outcomes as an ‘honest broker’.
Any thoughts? Thanks!
…some great points. A few more to add for consideration
–clarify roles and responsibilities
–establish operating rules–how will we communicate, make decisions, assign work etc.
–clarify task and start to build relationships
–who has the power, how will power be shared
–how will conflicts be resolved
Norms or Standards
–what’s acceptable and unacceptable behavior/performance
–who will enforce the norms (team leader or all team members)
–highlight people who model the agreed upon norms
–the team is operating with great effectiveness–focused on the right goals, priorities, problems etc.
–the team is highly efficient–no waste
What suggestions might help people lead through the five stages of group development? It takes time, effort and patience.
It also takes a team leaders who has a the appropriate balance of focusing on both the task and the people.
Some team leaders struggle to get this balance right.
It also takes a team leaders who’s effective at diagnosing where the team is at emotionally and what’s needed to help them work through their emotions and keep them moving in the right direction.