Creating A High Performance Team
A high performance work team is something we all want to have or be a part of. As a manager, you have to understand and guide your group through the developmental phases of a team in order to achieve high performance. Some managers feel if they put a group of people together they will automatically start to function as a team; that is far from the truth. First, the team needs to have a common purpose as well as mutual goals for success. Then, you should select members with competencies that complement the skills and abilities of other members in the group during the recruiting process. Once this is completed, then the real fun begins.
Phase 1: As you assemble this group of people together, the organizational structure also begins to take shape. This phase is called the Forming Phase. Ambiguity is commonplace during this phase because everything is new and everyone is trying to understand their role. Members of the group may have more questions than you have answers about the group’s purpose, structure and leadership.
Phase 2: The next phase of development is the Storming Phase which is characterized by intragroup conflict. At this phase, members have accepted the existence of the team but struggle to relinquish their individuality. A power struggle for leadership of the team can also emerge among members. Although this phase is plagued by conflict, it is necessary when closely monitored as it allows Members the opportunity to work through problems and clarify their role in the organization. Some teams fail because they never get out of the storming phase; even members who once believed in the group goals may be derailed by the lack of team support and unity. Success comes when the members understand their position and know what their contribution to the goals will be.
Phase 3: Gradually, the team moves into a Norming Phase as the hierarchical structure begins to form. Team members become comfortable with each other and start to leverage each other’s strengths. The group develops cohesion with a team mentality in lieu of individual perspective. At times when confronted by an obstacle, members may revert to storming stage behaviors.
Phase 4: Productivity peaks during the Performance Phase as a result of the group’s interdependence and problem solving skills. This phase is characterized by high group morale and intense group loyalty which brings a sense of comfort and confidence to the team. At this stage, the team can improve the efficiency of the processes they deliver and reduce waste.
The question you may ask, does the team stay at this high performance phase from then on? The answer is, it depends! If the purpose and goals change you might need different members with different skills. When there is high turnover in the organization, the team starts back at phase one and has to progress through each phase before getting back to a point of high performance. A good manager needs to think of themselves as a facilitator, constantly taking the pulse of the team and guiding the team through the phases to ensure they reach the high performance level. Good luck and Happy team building!