A team building process can be distinctly divided into various stages. These mutually exclusive stages come together to form the team building process. Each has its on characteristics and role to play in the formation of the team. Being conscious of the team building process can help various teams identify the need gaps in their efforts to build a strong team. Managers and team leaders with an eye on detail can help plug the gaps by understanding the dynamic team building process.
Teams are formed to meet certain goals and objectives. Team formation can be an involuntary or voluntary effort by individual members to come together. In most cases it is an involuntary effort with members being chosen to work together. Time and result bound screening of team efforts entail that members are comfortable with their roles. Yet, in the forming stages this is the very challenge as members are usually confused about their role, expectations that others have from them, how and what can they contribute to the group and what sort of team culture would develop.
Members do have question but they generally don’t ask them or express their views to all stakeholders. There could be concerns relating to the organizational environment that might come to the fore with the bringing together of team members from various disciplines/teams. This is a stage where little work is achieved but with the conscious effort of the team management a clear objective and a team charter defining the roles, responsibilities of members can be defined. A communication channel can be established within the team for airing of concerns and enabling members to actively contribute towards achieving team goals rather than be hesitant participants.
This is a stage where differences, anxiety and frustration come to the surface. Many a team members and managers would call quits at this stage fearing everything is out of control. This does though present an opportunity to resolve previously unattended issues. This stage is called storming for many a ideas are expressed in this stage and members try and contribute in their own unique way to achieve the team goal. There are no procedures followed and a lot of ideas could die a premature death as there are not significant many supporters for it.
A good manager would try and be patient and motivate team members. There could be some sort of polarization developing within the team and the manager would have to check such a phenomenon. He would ideally remain to be positive about the chances of the team sticking it out and achieving its goals. It is also a good stage for identifying training needs for members to re-skill or right-skill them for the job at hand. Work with an opportunity to enjoy between the day-to-day grind of the schedule should be the focus of one and all.
This is a stage where protocols get established, a sense of calm prevails and people can appreciate their roles and work towards their individual contribution. Solution framing and hypothesis discussion and validation is done by teams to come together to meet the team goal.
This is achieved as there is cohesion around goal with conflict resolution and acceptance of diversity in the team taking center stage. Members try to avoid conflicting situations and try and develop a decision making model. If there has been no clear team leadership in place then by this stage the leadership element is distinctly present with someone taking charge of the team. However, there is a flip side to all this as innovation and risk taking ability might be curtailed as some team members might not want to disturb the camaraderie existing in the team by suggesting radical solutions.
This is a stage where a sense of ownership and accomplishment develops within the team members. This is a stage where the team also starts to think about the continuing training or working again with the members after the goal has been achieved. However, this is also a stage where the team needs to be wary of complacency and assuming that their solution is the best and that they need not put more efforts in achieving the goal. This is a stage of not underestimating the task at hand or the competitive factors and gain from the team’s potential.