I have always wondered why a team is so hard to hold together and when a company grows it feels like you take five steps back before you take one forward. Sometimes I doubt that my choices have been the correct ones in my business. I usually doubt myself when I take a decision and that decision brings me out of my comfort zone. In the same way I have always asked myself why it is so easy to lead in one situation rather than in others. Why do I have a difficult time when it comes to leading outside my workspace like in our team projects? Why do I feel like maybe I am doing something wrong when I decide to grow by hiring new colleagues? These questions in part have been answered by Northouse.
I would like to start by describing the stages a team goes through, identifying my teams process through Tuckman’s stages. The fact that I can recognize and identify with these stages gives me an explanation for my doubt when I decide to grow as a company. I have discovered that when everything is well oiled, this means the team is in a place and we are preforming. Tuckman’s model in our course reading describes performing as number 4 in a groups stage. During performing members play functional interdependent roles focused on the performance of group tasks. (PSU WC, 2020, L.9) I can clearly see this happening in our work-space as everyone understands the common goal and are all willing to do their best to be part of the completion of various tasks to make their contribution as a whole. I feel like all my colleagues know what their tasks are and come forward with their own responsibilities.
The fact that everyone is performing, and we are getting more requests means that we are working together and reaching membership goals. This makes me as a leader take under consideration the Team Leadership Model where I can decide what option is most appropriate for the team. (Northouse, 2016, pg.381) In this case I must take external-level action in order to change internal level conflict due to high workloads that have been generated from great performance everyone is a little tense and some tension has raised. As Northouse describes an effective coach never rests on past success but works to improve the team’s functioning for the future. (Northouse, 2016, pg.382) This is what makes me as a team leader consider giving space to a new college.
Hiring a new colleague though, puts what we have worked so hard to achieve and what we recognize as collaboration under stress. Hiring a new person in the group somehow disbands what was so well adjusted. (Tuckman & Jensen, 1977) also include a stage known as adjourning, where the process picks up in another stage do to attrition. (PSU, WC,2020, L.9) Attrition is known like people retiring and new people coming into the group, or in this case a new trainer coming into our team. This as I said before puts me as a leader in doubt but puts the team back to the Storming phase where the group goes into conflict do to roles and the need to clarify to our new team member the groups mission and most of all values. IN this phase Tuckman’s second stage, I as a leader monitor the team’s internal relational actions. For example, managing conflict and power issues like everyone trying to agree with each-other in order to move quickly through the phase and not raise questions. (Northouse, 2016, pg.379) Obviously that would not be a great help to a company that is very high in Interpersonal skills and relationship. We need to go through the storming phase in order to be complete to get to know each other and what everyone can do better. For example, in or company some of us have more patience to train children and some have more for the elderly. To be able and communicate our mission positively and recognize each and everyone’s abilities needs work in order to be on the same page before transiting to the Norming phase.
Norming is Stage 3 in Tuckman’s group stage study; this is the part where I as a leader am starting to move back into my comfort zone and out of doubt. Here I see my team sharing the same interest and working together toward the same goals. (PSU, WC, 2020 L.9) I am positively surprised how my perception changes through the stages and how I start seeing the finish line to this new “investment” in this stage.
The beginning where I work through finding someone who I think is appropriate for the role, stage 1 the Forming phase is now distant. In this stage I gather information and new team members introduce themselves. (PSU, WC,2020, L9) I usually feel like I may be taking a bigger step than what is needed, I start to doubt my observation and my action plan of hiring a new member. I think that intervening externally due to my observation on an internal issue at beginning heightens the discomfort. If everyone can work through this discomfort with my help and support things may come back to where they started and start feeling as I am taking some steps forward and not back.
The right support is given by utilizing Internal and external Task Leadership actions. Goal focusing where I clarify the team’s goal (Northouse, 2016, pg.377) or coaching new and old team members in interpersonal skills so everyone listens to each-other, (Northouse, 2016, pg.378) will help everyone feel valued. In turn I usually am valued for taking the decision for the team. My feelings of doubt and taking steps backward have a response thanks to Tuckman’s stages of development and the Team Leadership model has helped me understand the importance of what I am doing and how to better support the process and the stages with the correct actions.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: theory and practice (7th ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2020). PSYCH 485 Lesson 9: Team Leadership. Retrieved from: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2040131/modules/items/28001669