meet the needs of groups. Introduction. In Creating Effective Teams, Susan Wheelan, who has many years of consulting experience with teams. Susan Wheelan doesn’t have a Wikipedia page and is only mentioned once in the Group Development article, yet she is one of the brightest. A bestseller in previous editions, Creating Effective Teams, Third Edition is Susan A. Wheelan, PhD, is president of GDQ Associates, Inc. Until recently, she.
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Grade school projects, sports teams, clubs, volunteer organizations, committees, and of course all the work teams you are part of in your job. How much theoretical knowledge have you been taught? How much have you intentionally practiced the skills of teamwork?
Curiously, even though teams are a basic organizing unit of daily life most of us never deliberately learn much about how they work or the tools to make them highly effective. Think of one that made you want to bang your head against a wall. Though each team is unique, there are recognizable stages of development, each with specific characteristics.
Being aware of these common patterns of team development is a useful first step. It was developed by Susan Wheelan and it builds on the work of many other researchers. The model sees team development in four key stages:. First, Dependency and Inclusionwhere a team gets together and begins working together.
Because relationships are new and very little trust or structure are established, members are dependent on the formal leader and largely focused on feeling safe and included.
This stage is also sometimes called forming. Second, Counterdependency and Fightwhere team members feel effectivw enough to express themselves openly, disagree with each other and even challenge the leader.
Third, Trust and Structurewhere the team has worked through the friction and normalized differences of perspective, personality, etc. By now, members feel a high degree of trust and commitment to the team. Structure and roles develop and the team needs less directive leadership to get work done.
Creating Effective Teams
This stage is sometimes called norming. Fourth, Work and Productivitywhere the team has established a high level of trust and structure, resolved outstanding friction and can shift nearly all of its energy to productive work. Here, the team has become highly self-leading and benefits more from a coaching style of leadership than a highly directive one. Deliberately ending a team, helps ensure that learning is extracted and that members feel a sense of closure.
The stages will look different for different teams. Many teams will get stuck and sometimes regress, before moving forward. But the general pattern is very common across teams and if you begin to look for it, you will probably see many signs of it. Forming This first stage is characterized by suxan strong need for safety and inclusion and the group is dependent on the leader.
Members seek to get to know each other, they are polite, they follow rules, take few risks, and seek inclusion in the group. Conflicts are pretty rare in this stage. To support a team to develop at this stage, creating a climate openness, where members feel secure to show themselves, is important. This is also the stage where the culture of the team begins to form.
Spending some time discussing team culture helps create a foundation In this article, Rhys Newman and Luke Johnson lay out their own essential guidelines for healthy happy group culture, including simple things like saying good morning and goodnight every day, cooking together, and rotating leadership. The method Personal Presentations is a simple and powerful way for a new team to begin building trust and openness by sharing stories.
Find it in the Hyper Island Toolbox. Got teamd and openness covered?
Maybe your team is in the next stage: Storming The second stage is characterized by friction and conflict. As members feel more secure and trusting, they open up. And it reveals differences of personality, perspective, values, etc.
Often, a first sign is questioning of the leader. Meanwhile tension emerges around interpretation of tasks and objectives. Put one way, each member is somehow working out out: How much can I influence others here? How much will I allow myself to be influenced by others? The key to making it through this stage is accepting and handling the conflict rather than trying to suppress it. In this short piece, Mark de Rond writes about three ways to become more comfortable with conflict. What feels dysfunctional effectiive, for all practical purposes, be perfectly effective.
Creating Effective Teams: A Guide For Members And Leaders
On a personal level, this stage can be a stretch, inviting lots of cteating and reaction. One effective tactic is to be extra mindful of your feelings, thoughts and behaviours. Is your team storming? One of the most useful things to do in this stage is communicate. Sounds simple, but it really works. Norming The third stage emerges as the friction of stage two settles and team members establish a sense of commitment and trust that includes differences.
This stage is characterized more focus on work, mature negotiation around roles, structure, methods, etc. In a way, this stage is energised by the thrill effectvie getting through the storming stage. Teams in this stage get way more work done than they did in the previous two stages. Here, teams are accelerated by continuing to strengthen structure and trust.
Re-visiting and discussing the team culture; optimising working routines, and learning more about each other. One of the best ways to stimulate development at this stage is through feedback. Feedbacks acts like a mirror: And, for the team, to better understand how effective structures, routines and roles are and how they can be improve.
But practising feedback can be challenging. But when you get past the perceived awkwardness, it can become something that allows you and your business to thrive. The Toolbox has a range of tools for practising feedback in teams.
It can be at first. Performing You made it! The fourth stage is where a team really flies. Even if the group has been able to get work done during the previous stages, some of the energy has always been diverted to other things getting to know each other, resolving conflict, reinforcing structure, etc.
Now, the team can invest all or at least most of its energies into the work. Teams at this stage are more creative and happier. They are comfortable with conflicts and handle them with ease. They are more flexible thanks to the high degree of trust established. Communication is direct and open.
Teams at this stage need very little directive leadership. They highly self-managing and are best supported by a coaching style of leadership that encourages the team and helps members overcome barriers autonomously. The most successful teams have a few factors in common. Even the most effective teams still need to spend time on their communication and team culture. The method Active Listening is a great way to work actively with peer coaching. Using this tool, members can support each other to explore important questions and work through work challenges.
As with other kinds of endings in life, the termination of a team can come with feelings of loss and sadness. It also gives space to evaluate the work of the team and learn from the shared experience. When wrapping-up a team project, take time to evaluate, reflect, give feedback and celebrate. The History Map is a useful tool to use in a wrap-up workshop to accomplish the kind of closure described above.
There will never be a perfect formula for creating great teams.
Creating Effective Teams: A Guide For Members And Leaders by Susan A. Wheelan
As much as we might wish for an easy how-to guide, ultimately it is messy, complex, human stuff. Teamwork research, insights and tools should be in the spotlight more. The more we become students of teamwork, the happier, healthier, and more productive we will be.
Participants will work with methods such as those mentioned above and other peer teams from wide ranging industries to supercharge their own team in real-time, over six weeks. Read more about it and sign up here.
How are great teams deliberately created? In this post, we’ll share some useful insights and practical tools for actually doing it. The model sees team development in four key stages: