If you have the gift of building a team from scratch, you are able to carefully think about the roles, responsibilities, the kind of people you want, the skills, beliefs, culture, and everything you need to succeed.
This rarely happens in reality. You are more likely to inherit an existing team, or lead a great team then need to hire more people, replace, or evolve.
Teams are in a constant state of fluctuation and don’t stay stable for long. Every time a new member joins, your team goes through team formation again, but the leader can speed the process up and reach performance if they consciously choose to focus on team first.
It is unreasonable to expect a new team to perform well when it first comes together. Even established teams get stuck in norming, some get stuck in storming and do not notice the dysfunctional behaviours anymore and never reach performing. Forming takes time as a collection of strangers come together to form a united group with a common goal.
Signs your team is stuck
1 You are managing more than leading
You find yourself levelling down as your team members aren't able to level up. You get involved in activities which you wish others would take responsibility for. You are equally as stuck. You may find yourself drawn into over managing and thus not having much time to lead.
2 You feel like You are Pushing
You want a team that is self motivated and energised. Instead your time is spent pushing for results, driving the team forward and motivating them to deliver.
3 Getting into detail
You spend too much time in detail, problems and find yourself making all of the decisions or having to find the solutions. The team seems happy to let you but you want them to come to you with solutions and create ideas.
4 The wrong kind of conflict
You might get involved in conflict resolution or spend time sorting out minor squabbles. It is absolutely exhausting and totally frustrating.
5 Results don't come easily
Results do not come easily or without intervention. You set the goals and the team needs you to keep driving them, often leading to last minute surges that are exhausting.
6 You aren't having fun
It does not feel energised or fun. You imagined a team who come together with a sense of alignment, energy and motivation to deliver. It doesn't feel like that and it just leads to frustration, stressed and not enjoying your role.
It is time to diagnose what is happening with your team, using the skills learned in the MyPresent modules. You need to step back and assess where your team are, the blocks and barriers and how to achieve your vision for the team. Then identify who you need to be as a leader to move the team forward. In the video below, you will identify some of the aspects that might impact your team assessment.
As a leader, you are a team member, albeit with a very distinct role. How you lead will have a direct impact on the behaviours and results that the team create. You maybe over-managing when the team needs more responsibility. You might solve problems, rather than empowering others to find solutions. Perhaps you are under-managing when they actually need you to be more involved. When you under-manage you allow the culture and behaviours to naturally evolve. It is a nice idea, but in reality, negative behaviours, silos, and politics creep in.
This results in the team getting stuck in equally unhelpful norms, doing things the way they have always done them, settling, and drifting along unconsciously. You may focus your energy in one team, neglecting another, creating resentment and conflict.
So as you assess the team, assess your role in the team too. You maybe part of the problem, but you are certainly part of the solution.
LeaderX strives for high-performing teams and invests in making teamwork a priority.
In our workshops, we highlight 3 team models.
- Bruce Tuckman's Forming model
- Cogs Ladder
- Five dysfunctions of a team (separate course)
You will be introduced to each model in this course and be able to apply an approach that works best for you.