A team don’t just form and immediately start working together to accomplish great things. Teams must go through several stages before being able to function productively. An ideal team demands to select a Team Leader first. A team leader is selected on basis of necessary knowledge, skill and experience needed to serve the purpose for which the team is build up. Once the team leader is selected, the team have to develop through the following four stages to work effectively and efficiently.
Stage 1: Forming
Forming is the first stage of team development. In this stage team leader picks team members with the necessary skills and diverse backgrounds and share a vision, discuss about the team task and expectations and provide positive and constructive direction to work together. Team members are introduced to each other and begin to define what they hope to accomplish from participating on the team. Members cautiously explore the feelings of excitement, pride in being chosen; optimism along with some anxiety about the work.
Stage 2: Storming
Storming is probably the most difficult stage for the group. As the team begins to understand what the end goal is, each member may have a different idea as to how best to proceed toward that goal. Members often become impatient about the lack of progress, but are still inexperienced with working as a team. Team members may begin to compete with each other, negate others’ ideas, and generally avoid collaboration. Members may argue about the actions they should take because they faced with ideas that are unfamiliar to them and put them outside their comfort zones. Much of their energy is focused on each other instead of achieving the goal. At this stage, the team leader should stay positive, encourage team members to stay on task and teach compromising and negotiating skills to team members
Stage 3. Norming
During this stage team members accept the team and begin to reconcile differences. Emotional conflict is reduced as relationships become more cooperative. The team is able to concentrate more on their work and start to make significant progress. Team leader should encourage constructive criticism and creativity. Keep all members focused on the task at hand so that they can’t waste time in dealing with personal problems, instead of work. Communication is important as well as regular feedback on progress.
Stage 4. Performing
By this stage the team members have discovered and accepted each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and learned what their roles are. Members are open and trusting and many good ideas are produced because they are not afraid to offer ideas and suggestions. They are comfortable using decision-making tools to evaluate the ideas, prioritize tasks and solve problems. Much is accomplished and team satisfaction and loyalty is high. At this stage team leader need to watch for conflict issues and look for ways to improve and motivate. He should also celebrate the success of the team. A simple “thank you” can go a long way!
The duration and intensity of these stages vary from team to team. Sometimes Stage 4 (performing) is achieved in a meeting or two; others may take months. Since working as part of a team can improve learning and is a much-needed skill in today’s workplace.