During my many years working as a project and departmental manager, I saw a number of teams in action: some of these were cohesive, high-performing teams. Others, however, were a different story.
Bruce Tuckman’s model talks about the four stages of team development: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Unfortunately, some teams never get further than the Storming phase. Just like children in a playgroup, there is a lot of screaming, no one is sharing, and a couple of kids are crying in the corner.
Here are my 6 tips for creating a top-performing team, or transforming a dysfunctional one:
- Have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Write these down, give everyone a copy and review the roles together. People can still be encouraged to contribute outside of their own remit, but this way there is clarity about who should be doing what.
- Have clearly defined objectives that all team members know and understand; clarify how individual objectives contribute to the achievement of the team objectives.
- Don’t let team issues fester. If someone is becoming disruptive, or if there is conflict between individuals, deal with it as soon as possible, in private.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate! Share knowledge; seek regular feedback about how the team feels about working together and about how you are doing as their manager.
- Schedule team-building events. Creating time for people to socialize together helps build relationships within the team—it lets people show their human side.
- Say thank you when people have done a good job, and mean it.