I can visualize the curious facial expression of the readers out there especially if the reader is a Team lead or Manager or Delivery Head.
It’s a quite common scenario whenever a new chunk of work comes to an IT-Farm. A team is formed which starts focusing towards project execution. Once a team is having visibility of the requirement, a ballpark estimate is given to the client.
Looks like the team is all set to perform right from outside? Hence the leadership team (inclusive of the Team lead, managers, delivery head etc.) start expecting output. Thus, unknowingly an unhealthy pressure gets built up on the team.
Hold on for a second. Aren’t we expecting that with an introvert mindset?
Let’s have a look at the ground reality and consider the below model.
A team when formed passes through certain stages. We can consider it as a “Tree life cycle”. Whenever we plant a seed it requires extra care and nourishment. After some days of watering and care sprouts starts coming out followed by which, with time, it becomes strong enough and gets converted to a tree.
Similarly, a new team when developed passes through the below 5 important stages-
Let’s talk about different stages of team productivity in details:
1st Stage: Forming
A team enters the forming stage when it is newly formed. Members of the team meet each other for the first time. There is a minimal visibility around the roles and responsibilities of an individual within the team. Hence members are in an “observing mode”, they observe other members of the team to get the feel around the person and how they can contribute together towards the project goal. Team members tend to behave independently since they do not know each other well enough to unconditionally trust one another. Team leader plays a crucial role in this phase. They should define Project goal and should ensure an individual is having clear visibility around his/her roles and responsibilities.
2nd Stage: Storming
Post forming stage, a team enters the storming stage where there are high differences among the members due to less acceptance among the individuals. Members think more from an introvert mindset and from an individual perspective. Productivity from the team member is least, members collide more with each other. In this stage, the team leader should first continuously keep track of the work and resolve conflicts. Exhaustive presence and input are required from the leader to ensure that the team is running on the constructive track.
3rd Stage: Norming
Post Storming phase, the team enters the norming phase wherein there is a high acceptance around the decision and differences between the member of the team. The team becomes more mature and there is a high collaboration among the members of the team. They work more as a team rather than an individual contributor. There is a shift from an introvert to extrovert mindset among individuals. The team members start building trust towards other members and actively seek each other out for assistance and input.
We can call this phase Pre-Performing phase. The productivity of the team is high compared to the previous two stages. The team leader may not be involved in decision making and problem-solving anymore, as the team is working better together and are holding themselves accountable for the delivery. However, on a need basis, the team leader can pitch in and provide direction to the team.
4th Stage: Performing
Once a team exits the norming stage, it enters the performing stage. Here the focus is more towards achieving the project goal as a group. Here throughput from team members is at its peak. There is a high trust factor, collaboration, and proactiveness among the members of the team. Hence the team takes quick decisions and solves their problems quickly. Thus, there is a timely delivery from the team. In this stage, a team leader is not involved in decision making and problem-solving.
From the performing stage, it is possible to revert to the Storming stage if a member starts working individually and is not a good team player. Hence the team leader keeps a watch to ensure that this stage doesn’t change back to storming stage.
5th Stage: Adjourning
A team enters this stage when the assignment gets completed and the team can be dissolved. The entire team celebrates the success with the help of different activities ( For eg: Team party ). The team leader plays a crucial role in this phase. The leader should ensure that the members are appreciated for their valuable contribution.
Here is how the performance of the team would look like-
The above model is known as “Tuckman Model of team formation”.
Bringing it all together
“A general thought on how often being a Team leader we think of it and accordingly expect productivity from the team?”
Let’s re-analyze the current stage of our newly formed team and help them achieve the “Performing” stage by working constructively along with the members, rather than creating an unhealthy pressure of delivering irrespective of the current stage of the team.
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