I am sure you would have heard this quote, someway or other. A lot has to go into building next level of leadership. It first starts with building a team. Not just a team but a performing team. My point is simple, if you keep struggling with making-things-work (or struggle with project team that delivery project), wouldn't it be hard for you to build next level of leadership?
Who wouldn't love to have a very high performing team? Such team makes you, your department dependable, trustworthy because stakeholders remain confident that such teams are quite focused, determined, work closely and they excel even if they face challenges, obstacles. High performing team has highly skilled individuals and their skill sets complement each other; they have clear understanding of team goals, their own roles, responsibilities, awareness of situation and if required they can take up each other's work.
Building high performing team requires competent leadership, who carefully plans and builds team spirit, capitalize on diverse persona, skill set, aspiration and instill shared responsibility to achieve goals, grooms individual for leadership positions. Let's look at important things leader has to keep in mind while building a very high performing team.
It was psychologist Bruce Tuckman who defined 'Forming', 'Storming', 'Norming' and 'Performing' elements of lifecycle of a growing team. Though this theory was first published decades ago, the essence is still applicable in today's competitive environment. It is really critical to understand team development lifecycle, complexities involved in building and managing high performing team. It describes characteristics of team in different phases and what role should a leader play at each stage of team development.
Forming is the first stage that team goes through wherein team members usually show positive and polite nature, though they might be experiencing mix emotions - at one end: anxiety, lack of clarity in terms of roles, expectations from them; while at other end they would be excited to be part of the team.
Typically this stage last for short duration, could be just a meeting. In this phase, team members are introduced, goals are communicated and high level discussion about how these goals would be achieved.
What leader should do?
The next phase of team formation where reality kicks in. Bit higher on emotional counts, possibility leaning toward frustration. Team members know each other but individually they would have different pace of work, expecting more clarity of roles. Some of them would be ready to take up their tasks while few would be overwhelmed with assigned work. Team objectives and goals would be called into question. Members may feel lack of defined processes or not enough support is extended from others in the team.
This phase is critical and this is where many teams fails.
What leader should do?