First of all, let’s establish what a team is. The Collins English Dictionary describes it as a “group of people organised to work together” which sums it up quite well. Would you define it differently?
Numerous experiments have been performed examining team building and group dynamics, one of which was put forward by Dr Bruce Tuckman in 1965. Tuckman’s developmental model consists of four stages which showing the behaviour and performance of teams in the workplace.
The four stages are as follows:
- Forming – The team is not yet a team, rather a collection of individuals. They start to understand the goals of the team but they are not yet clear on their role within it.
- Storming – Individuals tend to argue and even get upset about their role as unexpected difficulties arise and it becomes apparent that the task is more complicated than anticipated.
- Norming – Only now do the individuals begin to work as a team. The ground rules have been established, roles have been defined and there is more focus on the task at hand.
- Performing – The pinnacle of team building. Individuals understand what the other members of the team are good at and where their weaknesses lie. There is a sense of loyalty and total co-operation to the cause.
Getting from one stage to the next is not always straightforward though; it takes time, effort, perseverance and patience. Invariably, there will be members of the team who don’t get along, which can be challenging for everyone on the team not just those directly involved.
If there is someone on your team with whom you struggle to get along, consider the following:
- It might be the role they have to play that you find disagreeable rather than the person behind it.
- If you have history with that person which may be the cause of the friction, talk it out with them and iron out where any differences lie.
- Sit down and clarify what your role is what that person and vice versa so you both gain a better understanding of the pressures each of you face.
- Make sure your focus is on the task rather than the person. Keep it civil and don’t put your energy towards feelings of anger or frustration.
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