Psychology of successful team

Why is team work so important to our survival and prosperity?

No one person is perfect, as we are mixture of strengths which enable us to succeed and weaknesses which can set us up for failure.

To protect ourselves from the risk of failure we need to work with other people in a teaming environment.

However being dependant on other people and working with them is easier said than done.

So how can we work successfully with other people in a interdependent teaming environment?

When people start working together for the first time the team will have to successfully navigate through the four stages of development starting with;

Forming; is the formalising of a working together arrangement. An example of this is three or four musical people forming a musical band where each person has a talent which enables them to play a different musical instrument. While this covers the mechanics of forming a band the people now have to manage their non-musical differences.

Storming; is the process where all their non-musical differences come to the surface and this starts interfering with the harmony within the team. One of the most destructive is the different opinions of how to carry out a task as in how to do something. If this cannot be managed effectively then it will end the teaming arrangement and destroy the band. The movie “The Commitments” is a classic example of this where an old rocker decides to form a new band. The first part was easy, identify what musical instruments are required and invite the musical players to join the band. Very quickly the honeymoon period was over and the whole movie focusses on the “storming” phase of the band and its ultimate breakup.

Norming; is the process where the team identifies people’s differences and puts a strategy in place to manage them. From experience I have found the best psychological profiling to successfully transition the team through “storming” and onto “norming” is the Instinctive Drive profile. It identifies a person’s natural working style which is how they carry out a task. Once they understand people’s individual way of working then they can better manage their differences.

Performing; is where the team synergises their efforts and the output from the team is greater than the sum of their individual efforts. When a team gets to this stage it is significant for the individuals within the team and the organisation that they work for. So how does a team get to “performing”? Once people understand their individual natural working style then they can within the team move to situational management. That is they can, as a team, look at a situation, identify what talents are required to create the best outcome. Then the person with the required talents becomes the leader of the team’s effort and as the situation changes another person with the required talents takes over leading the team through to the end of the situation.

As well as getting the team to harmonise their efforts, there is the need to synchronise their activity. Microsoft Outlook is the ideal tool for this and I have devoted a whole chapter on how to enable a team to work collaboratively in my book “Revolutionise the way you work”.

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