How do people engage at work?

How do people engage at work?

How do people engage at work? Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Kingston University Business School’s Centre for Research in Employment, Skills and Society (CRESS) has shown that people engage for vastly different reasons. The research has emphasized the distinction between people who do their job mainly to earn a living and others whose emotional attachment is much wider. Their engagement can extend to the organization itself and to colleagues, line managers and customers.

Those engaged primarily with their jobs may well enjoy and take pride in their individual work. But they just want to do it and get on with rest of their lives. It is interesting that the study found that these people who are mainly interested in the technicalities of own work (transactionally engaged) report higher levels of stress. They seem to have more difficulties in achieving a work-life balance than those who are emotionally engaged with the organization.

It can become more complicated when, for example. someone is emotionally engaged mainly with their profession and perhaps even their clients. However they are only transactionally engaged with their current role and the current organisation.

This presents some interesting challenges for those leading change. How they communicate about the change to meet the needs of such a complicated audience.

A change that is being made for the perceivable good of the organization is more likely to be supported by someone emotionally engaged with that organization. The well being of colleagues may well be will be seen to be a priority and so will a clear commitment to manage the change well.

However, a change that threatens the work of an individual who is transactionally engaged may present a much greater risk. Most change managers have encountered the committed and brilliant technical specialist who decides they have no alternative but to subvert a change for the good of their work.So how can you respond?

Well, for a start you need to understand your group. Have a care with the results of engagement surveys which may not distinguish between different kinds of engagement.

What kind of people are in your group and what kind of work do they do? Walk the talk – get out there and meet them. Have conversations and be prepared to listen and to deal with feelings and anxiety.

When you communicate the change be aware that the impact will be different for different kinds of people. Take those different needs into account when you are planning the message. Then recognize the risk that different kinds of engagement might present. If your change threatens the organization itself then you need to manage the risk that presents for those committed to it. But handled the right way they will come with you on the journey.

Those committed mainly just to the job may well simply remove themselves. You risk losing their precious technical skills if they can see nothing in the change for them. If their skills are critical to the organization you may need to consider incentives to stay. These could range from money to opportunities for professional development or even enhanced technical facilities.

As with all change programs, success lies with inspiring people to follow the vision. But that inspiration may come with different strokes for very different kinds of folks

If you need the support of a coach in developing your career as change leader or change manager, then get in touch.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, 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 wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Are you a good team leader? Take my test.

Are you a good team leader?

Are you a good team leader? Take my test and find out.

Are you a good team leader? See how well you are doing in the leadership stakes. If you are serious about being a good leader, then you should be able to give serious answers to all these questions.

 

  1. There is no “best” style of leadership. How ready are you to be flexible? What do you think this means?
  2. The most successful leaders adapt their leadership style to the ability of the people they lead and the needs of the task. Do you know what those are? How will you find out?
  3. At the start of a task, good leaders explain what, how, why, when, where and what to do to start the task. Do you have that information ready for your team? How will you get it?
  4. Good Leaders recognize that competence and confidence can wax and wane over a project. How will you monitor those variations? How will you be ready to intervene?
  5. Good leaders share leadership when the group is mature. This helps to keep morale and energy up. How strong is your ego feeling today? How will you share leadership?
  6. Enthusiasm and confidence can take a knock when the group realizes just how complicated the challenge is going to be. How are you preparing to monitor this, then step in and support?
  7. A good leader develops the competence and commitment of the team so that they become self-motivated. Have you got the resources available to do this?
  8. Good leaders share the vision-making, as well as the vision. Do you have a process in place to do this?
  9. A good leader refreshes the vision on the journey. Have you made plans for this?
  10. A good leader communicates clearly and listens well. Are you ready to ask your team how well you are communicating?
Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, 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 wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Transformational Leadership

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership – transformational leaders are able to communicate a clear vision. They Transformational leadershipshare a passion for engaging in the journey. Such leaders are able to make the group they lead feel recharged and energized for the challenge ahead.

Transformational leaders win the trust of those they lead. They usually show energy, enthusiasm and passion and they want everyone in the group to succeed. 

Some military and political leaders are transformational leaders. But without honesty and integrity, transformational leadership skills can be misused.

A transformational leader’s behaviour needs to be absolutely consistent and resonant with the vision, the challenge and a commitment to the well-being of the group.

Transformational leadership is best accompanied by a servant leadership approach. This means the leader has a clear set of values and models these for those who are led. The leader needs to give the team confidence that they really can meet the goal.

The transformational leader challenges assumptions

The transformational leader challenges assumptions and stimulates and encourages creativity in those who follow. Those lead need to understand how they can connect with the leader, the organisation and each other.

Obstacles are overcome together. The group and the leader share responsibility for the task. The leader accepts that he/she “carries the can” and team members are not “blamed” when things go.

Each person in the team is appreciated and encouraged in turn to appreciate others. The leader acts as a coach and encourages personal development in team members.

The theory of transformational leadership was introduced by James MacGregor Burns and later developed by Bernard M Bass. Bass.  It proposed that transformational leaders succeed by gaining the trust, respect and admiration of their followers.

Bass saw four different elements working together to make up transformational leadership. These were

  • Intellectual stimulation – encouraging followers’ creativity and ingenuity
  • Support to each follower
  • The sharing of a clear and convincing vision and passion
  • The sharing of values

If you would like to read more you can  find James MacGregor Burns’ classic text at the link at the bottom of this post.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, 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 wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Leadership Styles – Life Cycle Leadership

Leadership Styles – Life Cycle Leadership

Leadership Styles – Life Cycle Leadership – different leadership styles are required across the life cycle of any group activity.

  1. Telling – at the start an activity, task or project, the individual, team or group usually know little about what is required of them and they can be confused and uncoordinated! Generally, they lack the specific skills required for this particular piece of work and they may not know each other. Lacking knowledge and confidence, they are anxious and unwilling to take responsibility for the task. The leader needs to go into “Telling” mode. This means being more directive; focusing on the task, promoting ownership by the individual team member and promoting their confidence. This Telling stage is characterized by one-way communication in which the leader defines the roles of the individual or group and provides the what, how, when, and where to do the task.
  2. Selling – as the group develops, the leader focuses on coaching to get them into the delivery stage! They agree how they will behave to complete the task! But in doing this there may be conflict and a leader may need a facilitative approach to lead them to resolution. They are still not able to take on responsibility; but, they are willing to work at the task. While the leader is still providing the direction and focusing on the task, he or she is now focusing as well on individuals using two-way communication – listening as well as giving instruction. The leader provides the coaching and support needed to help the individual or group buy into the process.
  3. Participating – as the individual or team becomes more confident and self managed the leader concentrates on leading the team overall and develops a delegating style! The team are experienced and able to do the task but may still lack the confidence to take on full responsibility. There is now shared decision-making about how the task will be accomplished and the leader generally provides far less instruction, concentrating instead on strengthening bonds and commitment within the group.
  4. Delegating – when the group is fully mature, the leader is still involved in decisions; but responsibility for how the task will be accomplished has been passed to the group. The leader stays involved to monitor progress. But the group are experienced at the task, and comfortable with their own ability to do it well. They are able and willing not only to do the task, but to take responsibility for its completion.

I have described the stages in terms of group behaviour but the same cycle is seen in the development of individuals when they take on a new role.

No one style is right for any leader all the time. Good leaders need the confidence to be flexible, and to adapt themselves according to the situation. The right leadership style will depend on the person or group being led.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, 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 wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

 

Active Listening and Good Communication

Active Listening and Good Communication

Building relationships at work and at home depends upon good communication. This includes the ability to really “hear” what the other person Active Listening and good communicationis trying to say. if you practice the skill of active listening, you will be able to communicate better.

In coaching we spend a lot of time thinking about active listening – for us it is a core skill. Active listening is hearing with engagement. In active listening you work to not just to hear the words, but to understand exactly what the other person is trying to say.

Active listening helps the other person to feel appreciated and respected. It helps them to have trust.

Active listening is a skill that requires practice but here are some tips to help you on your way.

  1. Position – be somewhere where you can see and be seen by your hearer for important messages. Talking one to one, or in small groups, sit up straight or lean forward slightly to show your attentiveness through body language.
  2. Maintain comfortable eye contact. Again one to one and in a small group, you need to judge the night degree of eye contact. Give good warm “face”,  and don’t stare them down or threaten with your glare. Remember, acceptable eye contact changes with culture. In some cultures it is very rude indeed to look straight into someone’s eyes.
  3. Minimize external distractions. Reduce external noise. Turn off the TV in the corner of the room. Ask people to stop what else they are doing and switch off your mobile phone. If someone comes to talk to you in your office at work, it is better to ask them to wait outside than to go on writing whilst they are in the room.  Writing on looks arrogant and it sends a clear message about what you think of their status relative to yours.
  4. Respond appropriately – when someone is talking to you show that you understand. You can murmur (“uh-huh” and “um-hmm”) and nod. Raise your eyebrows. Say words such as “Really” and “Interesting,” as well as more direct prompts: “What did you do then?” and “What did she say?” All these things show that you are interested and encourage the other person to keep talking.
  5. Focus solely on what the speaker is saying. If you concentrate properly on what someone is saying to you, your response will usually come naturally. If there is a silence – it usually means something. Silences often follow important statements, they give us breathing and thinking time. Don’t spend thinking time on what to say, spend it on reflection about what has been said. Then you will find the conversation usually flows.
  6. Be aware of what is happening inside you. You may find your own thoughts intruding as you try to listen. This can happen particularly if what is being said touches your own emotions. But let your thoughts go and keep refocusing back on the speaker, Time afterwards to reflect on what this meant for you.
  7. Suspend judgement. Wait until the speaker has finished before forming your opinion, even if they are complaining. In fact, it is even more important,if you think you are likely to disagree with what they are saying . Take the time to take in all that they have said before you give an opinion.
  8. Don’t jump to tell them what you did last time. People don’t want to be thought of as just another number, case or employee. Treat each person you speak to as an individual meriting individual consideration. There will be a time to use past examples but judge their use with care – packaged solutions do not blend well with feelings.
  9. Be engaged Ask questions for clarification. Once again, wait until the speaker has finished. Don’t interrupt their train of thought. After you ask questions, paraphrase their point to make sure you didn’t misunderstand. You could start with: “So you’re saying…” This shows that you are really listening.

You gotta practice

Practice your active listening skill, particularly handling silence. Learn to use it to better understand what is being said to you. As your listening skills develop, so will your speaking skills and your ability to hold a conversation. You will be surprised how active listening draws people to you. People warm to those who take the trouble to really listen to them.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, 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 wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Managing Team Performance: Tuckman Part 4

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 Managing Team Performancedevelop.

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 wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

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

         

Organisational culture

Organisational culture

Organisational culture – an organisation’s culture is a complex system with a organisational culturemultitude of interrelated processes and mechanisms that keep it humming along.  Sometimes it is hard for the leadership team to really understand the culture of the organisation they lead.

This is true particularly if they follow the traditional pattern and don’t move much from the leadership floor!

The leading team may think they determine the culture when they agree a vision and define the values that go with it.

“Oh yes, we are on a mission and we have a mission statement too! It is all in the hands of our Comm’s Director, so I’m sure people understand what it means and reflect it in our culture!”

Really? Unless those vision and mission statements are truly reinforced throughout the organization, they can be meaningless in terms of the culture.

So, do you understand your organisational culture. How do you know what is happening where you are? Here are a few questions for you to think about;

  • Are your organisation’s vision and values reflected in performance reviews and training programmes?
  • What about you financial reward systems? Do they reinforce them?
  • How about memos and communications? Do they highlight what the leadership team thinks are important.
  • What about management actions? For example, are more junior promotions for people who toe the line? Or are they for people who go out on a limb to pursue your vision?

In reality, in most organisations, the culture develops unconsciously and organically. It creates a system that, while not always ideal, does work.

Changing an organisational culture is a real challenge!

It is hard to do without losing the good things you have now. Of course, that assumes that as a leadership team, you are clear about what good things you do have now!

If you are serious about your vision. And you really want to see your values in practice. Then you may have some hard work ahead!

But, of course, until you understand the culture you have now, you won’t know what you need to do. Will you?

Time to start asking some questions, I think!

Working with an executive coach really can help you get your organisation to perform well. Why not take advantage of my offer of a free half hour coaching session to find out how I can help.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organizational development, 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 wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

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

         

Handling Resistance

Handling Resistance

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Handling resistance and fear is the fifth step in the Kotter model. This is handling resistanceabout empowering action, over coming resistance and getting rid of obstacles to change. This post is  part of a series on the Kotter approach to leading change. I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series. Links to all the earlier Kotter posts are in the next paragraph.

The Kotter model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. We have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency Step Two: Forming a Powerful CoalitionStep Three Creating a Vision for Change and Step Four: Communicate Your Vision

Now we are reaching the point where your investment in Stages 1 to 4, begins to pay dividends. Kotter himself states that when Stages 1 to 4 are skipped, resistance is inevitable and this can destroy your change.

People resist change because they fear loss.

They believe they are defending something they value which feels threatened.   This can include loss of security, power, resources and overall loss of control.  Most of us fear the unknown.

If you have followed the earlier Kotter steps when you reach this point, you will have been talking about your vision and building up buy-in from all levels of the organisation. Hopefully, your group will want to get busy and be out there achieving the benefits that you’ve been promoting.

But there may still be some resisting the change!  There may be people (individuals or groups), processes, structures and even organisations that are getting in the way? You not only need to put in place the structure for change, but check continually for barriers and blockers to it.

Handling resistance and removing obstacles can empower the people you need to execute your vision and it certainly helps them move the change forward.

Handling resistance! To remove obstacles you should;

  • Identify, or hire, change leaders whose main roles are to deliver the change.
  • Look at your organisational structure, job descriptions and performance and compensation systems to ensure they’re in line with your vision.
  • Recognise and reward people for making change happen.
  • Identify people who are resisting the change and help them see what’s needed.
  • Take action quickly to remove barriers (human or otherwise).

When people are resistant;

  • Help them understand the logic behind the change.
  • Give them an opportunity to contribute – to help design and implement the change (e.g., ideas, task forces, committees).
  • Provide facilitation & coaching to help them adjust to the change.
  • Offer incentives to those who continue to resist change.

If all else fails, and this change is critical to the organisation, you may need to use authority to get people to accept the change or move them sideways and, sometimes, even out of the organisation. Do it with as much respect for their dignity as possible – those remaining will be marked by how your respond .

This can be one of the most challenging stages for the Change Leader but – as I’ve written here many times before – no one told you change was going to be easy!

Meanwhile …

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

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 wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

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

         

Managing Team Norming: Tuckman Part 3

Managing Team Norming: Team Work 101

Form, Storm, Norm, Perform and Adjourn.

Tuckman Part 3 – Managing Team Norming

Team norming is an essential part of the Tuckman model of how groups/teams team normingdevelop.

Most groups go through a formation process like that described by Dr Tuckman. And, this includes a third stage when the group agrees what norms are to apply later in their work. So, if you understand the model it can help you to lead, manage and facilitate teams and work groups more effectively.

This short series of posts is about how you can lead your group through the stages to achieve a good result. In my post on Stage 1, I 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. Now, in Stage 3, people begin to experience a sense of group belonging. And, there is a feeling of relief that conflicts are being resolved. They agree the ground rules.

Stage 3 – Norming.

If the team leader has taken the advice set out for moving from Stage 2, the group will now be resolving any conflicts. This will mean people become much less defensive. Therefore they are willing to change their preconceived ideas or opinions on the basis of facts presented. They ask questions of one another. Leadership starts to be shared. Cliques break up in the light of new information and new relationships. And a sense of group belonging emerges.

People share feelings and exchange ideas. So, they explore possible actions for reaching the goals and creativity is high. And, they are on their way to being organised so that they can achieve their goals.

Trust builds and information flows well! As roles and responsibilities become clear, they are accepted. And big decisions are made by group agreement. While, smaller decisions may be delegated to individuals or small teams within group. This means commitment and unity are strong.

Leading the group through Stage 3 – Norming

What is the role of the leader?  Well, the leader facilitates, enables and makes sure that data keeps flowing between group members.  As well as that, the leader encourages the group by congratulating them when they listen to each other and work cooperatively. Now is the time to make sure they put in place detailed plans and systems, and standards, for completing the work. Encourage them to work together to achieve the task.

What if they get stuck in Stage 3 – Norming

Some groups stay in Stage 3 and complete the task with a degree of dependence on you as the team leader and others in the group. The main danger of Stage 3 is  that members may begin to fear the inevitable future break-up of the group, so they may resist change of any sort. This can mean they may not find novel and original solutions to problems. Encourage the group to try out new ideas, and approaches, and to develop the confidence to work independently while remaining part of the group. Be a cheerleader – encourage your group and recognise them for the good work they are doing.

Now, we are moving towards excellence  – the next post will be about Stage 4 Performing

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 wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

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

         

Managing Storming Teams: Tuckman Part 2

Managing Storming Teams: Team Work 101

Form, Storm, Norm, Perform and Adjourn.

Tuckman Part 2 – Managing Storming Teams

Managing storming teams is an essential part of the Tuckman model of how groups/teams Managing Storming Teamsdevelop.

Most groups go through a formation process like that described by Dr Tuckman. And, this includes a second stage when the group works out what norms are to apply later in their work. So, if you understand the model it can help you to lead, manage and facilitate teams and work groups more effectively.

This short series of posts is about how you can lead your group through the stages to achieve a good result. In my last post (at this link) I discussed Stage 1 Forming. In Stage 1 I described how the group look for some ground rules. Stage 2, as you will see, means they set about testing what they think those ground rules might be.

Managing Storming Teams

Some group leaders find managing storming team uncomfortable – it can be challenging to handle. Tuckman stages can seem slow and a waste of precious work time. But going through them means that a more cohesive and efficient working group is formed – a group that allows everyone to contribute their best!  A skilled manager can observe the stages happening and help the process along.  That means you get the best outcome for all in the least time.

Stage 2 – Storming.

If you have taken the advice set out for Stage 1, the group will now have some goals.  But, they are not yet organised so that they can achieve them. Though, by now they should have been together long enough to stop needing to be on their best behaviour.

They may begin to debate how they should go forward. For example, what are the priorities going to be and who is going to take which role in the team?  Do you know what systems and processes are going to be put in place?

Differences of opinion and beliefs lead to conflict and they may begin to jockey for position. Therefore, power struggles break out, particularly if you have a number of strong personalities vying to lead. And, they may begin to challenge you as group leader and cliques form.

Leading the group through Stage 2 – Storming

So what can you do? First, you can focus the team on its goals to avoid them becoming distracted by relationship and emotional issues.  Probably, some compromises need to be made and you need to help them find the middle ground. Now, start selling ideas and the benefits of what you are trying to do.  There needs to be lots of communication. Make sure they understand the importance of the task, the processes needed and their roles.  If all is going well, the group will move quickly through this stage to agree some “norms” for working together.

What if they get stuck in Stage 2 – Storming

In managing storming teams, you may need to set down the ground rules for group behaviour and get the group to agree that they should treat each other with respect.  So, keep a close eye on the debate – if it is about ideas, that is a good sign and they can be left to work it out if time allows. But, if the debate becomes personal, then you will need to intervene.  Don’t suppress conflict completely because the group will stagnate and not learn to work together very well. Social events can help individuals begin to see each other in a more rounded way.

If necessary, tighten up the goals and targets!  So, get the group to focus very sharply upon them and the benefits which will be lost if people are not prepared to compromise and reach agreement.  Possibly, cliques have formed. Therefore, put people to work with others outside their chosen subgroup so that new relationships can be established.

Now, we move towards the real work. And the next post will be about Stage 3 Norming. You can find the post on Stage 1 Forming the team here.

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 wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

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