Essential to any business, large or small, is an effective and dynamic team. Without a productive team working towards the same end goal, business growth and profitability will be thwarted. It is important, therefore, for any business owner to understand the elements of team building to ensure the creation of a solid team which contributes to the successful growth of your business.
In 1965, psychologist, Bruce Tuckman, coined the term, ‘forming, storming, norming, performing’ to describe his theory of the 4 stages of team development. While other models of team building exist, Tuckman’s is a well known and useful tool to understanding team dynamics in simple terms.
- Forming – is the initial introduction of individuals. You, as leader, will play a dominant role in answering questions about the team’s purpose and goal(s) and provide clear expectations.
- Storming – individuals test each other’s position within the group. Challenges may be made to your authority and/or the team’s purpose. Decisions aren’t made easily and they are still reliant on you as leader.
- Norming – individuals begin to assume their roles within the team and to agree on the team’s goal. They engage more with each other and may even socialise. You become more of a facilitator like a business coach than leader at this stage.
- Performing – the team has now formed, and have gained greater autonomy. They are now in agreement as to the steps they will take to achieve the team goal and why achieving it is essential to your overall business strategy. You will now be in a position to oversee rather than guide and participate.
Without a basic understanding of the theory of team dynamics you could be creating problems for your business. While your team is going through the first two of the four stages especially, it is imperative that you demonstrate strong leadership skills to instil trust and confidence within the team to ensure they overcome early problems and form a bond. Henry Ford says: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Once established the team should be fully aligned with your business ethos, values and mission. Members should have a clear understanding of what is expected of them to ensure they achieve the goals laid out in your business plan. Importantly, high performance levels from individuals and the team should be rewarded; you too will be rewarded with successful business growth and profitability.