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Leadership & Team Building Training

The leader of the past knew how to tell. The leader of the future will know how to ask. Leadership is a complex and dynamic process that has been defined in many different ways. Leadership has been described as autocratic, democratic, situational, transformational, and free-rein. There are many documented leadership theories, models and concepts. No matter what leadership model an individual chooses to follow, it is important to bear in mind that leadership is not a one-man show. The latest phenomenon on leadership is that it should be transformational. Transformational leaders are defined as being charismatic; able to energize and inspire others to action.

A team is a group of people with a commitment to one another, to the team, to a high level of achievement, to a common goal, and to a common vision. They understand that team success depends on the work of every member.

So a team has a shared interest in accomplishment and a shared vision, both of which are different from a shared goal. The need for accomplishment provides a driving force. The vision provides not only a goal, but directions and a compass for reaching it. It keeps everyone moving in the same direction, at the same speed, working together to create as little friction and as efficient a journey as possible.

One of the ways that teams reduce friction is through their members' commitment to working as a team. They're willing to give up most of their need for individual recognition for success in reaching the goal. It's the accomplishments of the team as a whole that become important, and members of good teams hold themselves and one another accountable.

A good team functions as a single organism. Not only do members work together toward a common goal, but they complement and support one another so that their work seems effortless. Compare that soccer team of six-year-olds and their individual agendas with the Brazilian national team in its heyday. Everyone seemed to know not only what all his teammates were doing, but what they were going to do. Passes always hit their mark, as if there were some sort of mysterious force among team members that directed their kicks. Obviously, their "magic" was the result of endless practice, but it was also the result of a shared passion for accomplishment and a shared vision of just that effortless, automatic play that made all other teams look clumsy.

In a team setting, the 360-degree assessment approach can be used for peer feedback from the team members. Due to the significance of team member relationships within a team-based organizational structure, it is important to alter the traditional performance evaluation process of leader-to-employee to include communication skills at all levels. The 360-degree assessment feedback is an important and necessary part of individual and team performance improvement. Peers and other stakeholders’ feedback are necessary for self-directed teams to identify and direct performance improvement.

Dr. Bruce Tuckman published his Forming Storming Norming Performing model in 1965. He added a fifth stage, adjourning, in the 1970s. The Forming Storming Norming Performing theory is an elegant and helpful explanation of team development and behavior. Similarities can be seen with other models, such as Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum and especially with Hersey and Blanchard's Situational Leadership® model, developed about the same time.

Tuckman's model explains that as the team develops maturity and ability, relationships establishment, and the leader changes leadership style. Beginning with a directing style, moving through coaching, then participating, finishing delegating and almost detached. At this point, the team may produce a successor leader and the previous leader can move on to develop a new team. This progression of team behavior and leadership style can be seen clearly in the Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum - the authority and freedom extended by the leader to the team increases while the control of the leader reduces. Below in Tuckman's Forming Storming Norming Performing model, explains the different relationships.

Team Lifecycle Stages

Here are the features of each phase:
Forming - stage 1
High dependence on leader for guidance and direction. Little agreement on team aims other than received from leader. Individual roles and responsibilities are unclear. Leader must be prepared to answer lots of questions about the team's purpose, objectives and external relationships.
Storming - stage 2
Decisions don't come easily within group. Team members attempt to establish themselves in relation to other team members and the leader, who might receive challenges from team members. Clarity of purpose increases but plenty of uncertainties persist. Cliques and factions form and there may be power struggles. The team needs to be focused on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationships and emotional issues. Compromises may be required to enable progress.
Norming - stage 3
Agreement and consensus largely forms among the team, who respond well to facilitation by leader. Roles and responsibilities are clear and accepted. Big decisions are made by group agreement. Smaller decisions may be delegated to individuals or small teams within group. Commitment and unity is strong. The team may engage in fun and social activities. The team discusses and develops its processes and working style.
Performing - stage 4
The team is more strategically aware; the team knows clearly why it is doing what it is doing. The team has a shared vision and is able to stand on its own feet with no interference or participation from the leader. There is a focus on over-achieving goals, and the team makes most of the decisions against criteria agreed with the leader. The team has a high degree of autonomy. Disagreements occur but now they are resolved within the team positively, and necessary changes to processes and structure are made by the team. The team is able to work towards achieving the goal, and also to attend to relationship, style and process issues along the way. Team members look after each other. The team requires delegated tasks and projects from the leader.