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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. 

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What is Agile Leadership?

Updated: Mar 6

by Brenda Blom


As I work with many small to mid-size business owners of professional services, they often comment on the new buzzword "agile" and wonder what its all about. During these unstable and challenging times, there are unprecedented demands on small businesses to constantly grow and change with evolving technology. It takes strong leadership to guide the growth, and that's why all leaders need to know about agile leadership business practices. Turnover, conflict, loss of morale, and loss in profits are risks that every organization faces when business growth is not supported with the right kind of leadership. Without a culture to support new technology, a lack of alignment can cause unhealthy organizational symptoms. When a business aims to increase in its ability to move fast it underpins the necessity to lead differently, to lead with agility.


I guide business owners through a process to become more agile. Through the 3 C’s of Agile Leadership, I help leaders to communicate, commit and collaborate with processes to unleash the full potential of their business. My evidenced-based methods of strategic planning and leadership development guide business leaders to embrace the 9 principles for agile leadership.


The Nine Principles of Agile Leadership from The Business Consortium (agilebusiness.org)

1. Actions speak louder than words

Agile Leadership is about not only driving and promoting change, it is also about being the change. Those who lead by example and actively engage in their own development, inspire people. This is through action rather than words; as Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see”. Agile Leaders develop themselves to be humble and empathetic by demonstrating virtues such as compassion, kindness and care for their colleagues. Inspiring leaders work on themselves first before working on others. Are you the best version of yourself while in the boardroom? Executive coaching and leadership development is a proven way to take your personal effectiveness to the next level.


2. Improved quality of thinking leads to improved outcomes

Agile Leaders value high quality thinking which will result in meaningful action. Agile Leaders view problems from many different angles. They take input from those closest to the problem and this goes some way to ensuring that they are in touch with reality rather than relying solely on electronic information to inform their decision making. This also means allowing thinking time and focusing on the highest priorities at any given time.


3. Organizations improve through effective feedback

Receiving feedback can often be perceived as a negative experience, so Agile Leaders lead the way by courageously soliciting meaningful, useful and timely feedback from peers and other colleagues. While requesting feedback is important, Agile Leaders take time to ensure that they are visibly responding to the suggestions made by their colleagues in order to close the feedback loop. Agile Leaders model giving effective feedback that is open, honest and respectful.


4. People require meaning and purpose to make work fulfilling

Agile Leaders focus on building and sharing a common understanding and purpose. There is a vision of change that is meaningful and applicable to the organization. The work of the Agile Leader is to be aware of what is in the hearts and minds of their colleagues, and then to unify and align those values into inspired action.


5. Emotion is a foundation to enhanced creativity and innovation

Agile Leaders inspire others to bring their best selves to their work. They understand that emotion is an important part of the human experience, and when individuals work with their emotions, they achieve more of their potential. Innovation and creativity rely heavily on respect that the Agile Leader encourages by being accessible, open, honest and transparent whilst expecting the same from others.


6. Leadership lives everywhere in the organization

Agile Leadership should permeate all aspects of an organization or change initiative. Realizing the leadership potential of all its people helps accelerate the organization’s ability to learn and adapt. The work of an Agile Leader is to develop depth in the organization’s leadership capability by providing opportunities for their people to lead. Mentoring tomorrow’s leaders in the principles and practices of servant leadership sows the seeds for the Agile culture to thrive.


7. Leaders devolve appropriate power and authority

Agile Leaders recognize that people work best when they are enabled, engaged and energized. Empowering individuals is a necessary skill of the Agile Leader as they balance the emerging needs and tensions of the organization. Agile Leaders recognize that empowerment is not an “all or nothing” concept. Instead, it is a continuum of leadership behaviour that responds to the current context for change.


8. Collaborative communities achieve more than individuals

Agile Leaders build communities based on high trust, respect and meaningful working relationships. Their role is to provide those communities with all that they need to operate efficiently but then to let them function autonomously within their boundaries. . The Agile Leader understands that forgiveness, positivity, generosity and gratitude are important parts of a healthy working environment. The healthy functioning of the group together with the preservation of psychological safety allow the Agile Leader to encourage learning and development whilst also balancing sustained output and performance for the benefit of the organization.


9. Great ideas can come from anywhere in the Organization

People who are close to a problem usually have the best ideas about how to solve it. Agile Leaders allow themselves to be open to the influence and ideas of others, regardless of their status or position. To this end, the Agile Leader stops, listens and gives time to really hear the thoughts and ideas for improvement from their colleagues. Even if some ideas are not used, the Agile Leader encourages a continuous flow of creativity by helping people to understand which ideas were useful and which were not.







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