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The 4 Stages of Becoming A Team

So why is leadership development important? According to the research, leadership development enables organizations to do the following 4 things that drive sustained success:

  • Improve bottom-line financial performance.

  • Attract and retain talent.

  • Drive strategy execution.

  • Increase success in navigating change.

Be Prepared for Resistance to Change

How to Become a High Performing and Agile Team

One of the most challenging parts of forming a new leadership team is that often the leader and members are unequipped to face the challenges of forming an effective and agile team.  There are many work groups and teams, but for a team to be high performing and in support of organizational strategic goals is another thing.  It is important that team members realize the two parts of working together as a team, both the work itself and the work of the “way” individuals communicate and behave in the team. 

As Tuckman has coined the stages of a team model, it is not enough to merely know the stages but to take action that supports agile culture change. 

The first stage: FORMING.  Forming identifies a newly formed team which is getting to know each other as a team.  The leader needs to bring a shared understanding of how the group will work together through a team charter, or a social contract to give set rules and norms of team behaviors.  The most important aim of the first phase is to create psychological safety.

Stage two:  STORMING.  It is unavoidable to avoid stage two, marked by increased conflict, the team starts to deepen their understanding of their shared norms, values and behaviors.  It is common at this stage for personalities to bounce against the container and test the boundaries.  It is important that one person is identified as a person who can remind the team of their shared social contract/team charter.  In order to fully understand what the team is made of and how it works, it is critical that underlying personality issues are dealt with effectively and that the group can begin to start having open conversations about how it functions in a way that hold the safety to do so.  It is highly advisable if you as the leader are not effective in holding space for the team to grow in this way, that a coach be hired to support the team.  Alternatively, a team member, or a project guide can be assigned to hold the role of team facilitator.

It is a common human phenomenon that our brains physically are designed to make us as individuals, resistant change.  Although we may feel we logically are open to change and believe in agile best practices, there are subtle ways that our inclinations to disagree or debate or shut down cause us to disrupt the “flow” of the team. For this reason, it is important that there is someone who understands this and can hold space in a way that creates a psychologically safe environment for resistance to dissolve.  As such, it is important that the leader holding space, does not act as an expert in any way, to offer opinions, solutions, or advice.  If so, the “sense” that there may be a right or a wrong way may be subtly felt and will cause deeper resistance. 

Stage three:  NORMING. As the progress of the work content and the ability to work together as a team evolves, the team will embed the new changes into a process called norming.  Embedding is about making changes that have firmly and deeply stuck to the surrounding mass.  What we are talking about here is about making transformational change or change management.  In order for development efforts to last, the growth of the team members and the team as a whole need to remain long after initiatives for development were addressed.  Once positive change has taken place, it must be occasionally addressed to ensure lasting change “sticks”.  For this it is important to set up feedback channels that loop back to the team charter and measuring how things are going.  Once it is evident that the team is getting done superior work in the “way” they agreed on, then the team is performing. 

Stage four: PERFORMING. 

The definition of a high performing team is a group of goal-focused individuals with specialized expertise and complementary skills who collaborate, innovate, and produce consistently superior results (SHRM, Society for Human Resource Management).  Working on a high performing team is farm more fulfilling as it draws out the individual strengths of each member to leverage the collective intelligence of the whole team.  The results are a a thriving organizational culture, with a competitive presence in the marketplace.  The four aspects of high performing teams are:  1.  trust 2. team mentality 3. Embracing of diversity 4. Clear direction.  The Performing stage is not reached by all groups. If group members can evolve to stage four, their capacity, range, and depth of personal relations expand to true interdependence. In this stage, people can work independently, in subgroups, or as a total unit with equal competencies.

Do you and your team don’t have someone who understands resistance to change and how to coach people through change?  Do you know what agile is anyhow to embrace its new mindsets for doing business better? Would you like more information on the stages of a team and how to increase team performance? Feel free to reach out to BLOM Leadership for a free consultation. 


Are you a Conscious Leader?

Updated: Mar 6

By Brenda Blom

As a fan of the tool: The Conscious Leadership Model, I use this as a jumping-off point for a leadership development program The Leadership Journey. In it, I help leaders identify their stories, strengths, and limiting beliefs and shift toward a higher level of themselves. A favorite book on the topic is The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Dethmer, Chapman & Klemp.

This Conscious Leader Model is a four-zone model, whereby conscious leaders are said to embody the following four zones:

  1. Self-Mastery in the ‘I’ zone. This zone is about making choices over their egos; wholeness through values and purpose; greater authenticity; and vertical development or the ability to lead successfully in conditions of great complexity.

  2. Conscious Relationships – in the ‘We’ zone (including striving to be present with others; listening deeply with their heads, hearts, and intuition or gut; being comfortable in devolving power, control and responsibility to others; creating opportunities for collaboration and multiple perspectives to be brought into the mix, and thinking about how they might establish partnerships across boundaries with previous ‘competitors’ so that they can innovate and create shared benefit).

  3. Systems Insight in the ‘It’ zone. Having developed deep insight into how life is one big interconnection; they have a broad stakeholder view; they think about how they can create balance and benefit for the wider system, and they take responsibility for the long-term effects of their actions on the system).

  4. Collective Responsibility is felt as an inner urge or calling to contribute positively to the areas they believe need attention and reformation, using a business or organizational life as a transformational vehicle for making a contribution for fulfilling a larger purpose.

This model is from

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