In this blog post we are going to talk about Team Development. While it is critical to develop people individually, and essential to have a development plan for every team member, a leader needs to understand that teams develop in stages.

Developing  people individually will fast-track team development. All teams,  no matter the size, will move through a series of different stages as they mature.

Let’s look at the stages that a leader needs to know:

Stage 1: Guidance

New teams need guidance and support, but leaders need to be careful not to stifle the creative flair of the team by being over-controlling. This will not only reduce creativity but also squash the sharing of ideas and initiatives. It is important here in the guidance stage that you be seen as an authentic leader who operates from the heart and really gets to know and understand individual team members, their differing roles within the team, and acknowledges their feelings as they struggle with their challenges.

Stage 2: Competitors

As the team develops, conflicts will occur as team members strive to be top performers. Your role is to massage egos and have everyone focus on their objectives while also thinking of the team.  As you take your team through this stage, be very aware of feelings; display compassion and empathy as you bring people back on the team path.

The leader who displays excellent people skills during this stage will have the team move through this stage relatively quickly because team members will feel heard individually but also realize that they need to be committed to team success.

Stage 3: Working Together

This is where you really earn your money! As the team grows, your coaching kicks in by working on:
•    Team Meetings
•    Individual Attributes/Skills Development
•    Monthly One-on-Ones
•    Group Training Sessions
•    Teamwork Skills
•    Individual & Team Recognition
•    Rewarding Team Efforts
•    Rewarding Personal Bests
•    Celebrating Successes

Stage 4: Challenges

Usually teams go through a stage  where obstacles seem too huge. These obstacles will come from within the organization and externally. Your role is to have your team see these obstacles as speed humps and not brick walls.  Occasionally, you will need to be a “bulldozer” for your team–this entails standing up for them and removing internal obstacles.

Stage 5: Collaboration
Once you’ve shown the team that obstacles can be overcome, the team will really mature and move on to producing consistently excellent levels of performance never before contemplated. Now is the time to start involving the team in planning and strategizing.

It is foolish for leaders to continually put stretch goals in front of a high performing team without the team’s input and involvement. Setting their own goals and objectives will strengthen their commitment to achieve. Their targets will be higher than you ever would have set.

Your objective as a leader is to be able to recognize where your team is and guide them along the path to collaboration and being an excellent unit that consistently produces great results.

By  Ken Wright
(+61) 414 157 657