Managing Team Performance: Team Work 101
Form, Storm, Norm, Perform and Adjourn.
Tuckman Part 4 – Managing Team Performance
Managing team performance is an essential part of the Tuckman model of how groups/teams develop.
Most groups go through a formation process like that described by Dr Tuckman. And, this includes a fourth and main stage when the group actually delivers the task. So, understanding the Tuckman model can help you lead, manage and facilitate teams and work groups more effectively. Some group leaders find the stages uncomfortable – they can be challenging to handle. Unfortunately, stages can seem slow and a waste of precious work time. But going through them means a more cohesive and efficient working group is formed
This short series of posts is about how you can lead your group through the Tuckman stages to achieve a good result. My post on Stage 1, described how the group will be looking for some ground rules. In Stage 2, they set about testing what they think those ground rules might be. Stage 3 meant people began to experience a sense of group belonging. Now, in Stage 4, the leader should not need to be involved in the day-to-day work of the team. People are working effectively as a group. If this stage is reached, the group are high-performing, motivated and achieve effective and satisfying results.
Stage 4 – Managing Team Performance
Let us be honest; not all groups are able to reach Stage 4. Perhaps, they achieve the task but without ever truly excelling. And they will need pretty constant supervision and guidance from the team leader. But, if the team leader has taken the advice set out for moving on from Stage 3, there is good chance the group has reached Stage 4. Now, the group will be delivering the task with a high degree of openness, trust, confidence and autonomy.
The work itself is carried out to a high standard and the group take pride in their team results and superior performance. Problems are seen as opportunities and they are tackled constructively.
The group can make decisions and solve problems quickly. And, people may challenge each other; there are can be healthy differences of opinion. But these are resolved in a friendly manner. The group has the confidence to review and revise work processes if necessary. Now, new ways of doing things are considered and incorporated.
Leading the group through Stage 4 – Performing
What is the role of the leader? With a group in Stage 4, the leader does not need to be involved in decision-making, problem solving or the day-to-day work of the team. People now work effectively as a group. Therefore, the leader role is to monitor progress and celebrate achievements; this helps to maintain morale and the performance of the group. And, the leader is also the conduit for any strategic decisions which need to be made at a higher level, for the group to complete their work.
What if they don’t stay in Stage 4 – Performing?
There remains a possibility that the group could revert back to an earlier stage. For example, if someone leaves or new members join. Perhaps, one of the existing members has started to work independently or outside the rules/norms (formal or informal) subscribed to by the rest of the group. It is possible then for the team to revert back to an earlier stage. And, this will last until they have come to term with the change or the issues are resolved. If the team slips back, the leader should become more actively engaged again. And, this could mean more close supervision for a while. Also encouraging them to have the confidence to go back to trying out new ideas and working independently, while remaining part of the group. So, they need you to be a cheerleader again – encouraging your group and recognising them for the good work they are doing.
Now we are moving towards completion of the task – the next post will be about Stage 5 Adjourning and saying goodbye!
Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link