Tag Archives: Forming

Leadership: How To Build Your Project Team – Some Tips

team_buildingLeadership: How To Build Your Project Team – Some Tips

Are you about to lead a new project team? If you are lucky, you are appointed before the rest of the team are chosen. Now, how are you going to set about choosing the right people for your team and then forming them into a well-functioning group?

Selecting the Team

This is when it pays to invest your time and energy in selecting the right people. You need to have a clear view of the range of skills and abilities you need.  Be very practical.  What matters most is not necessarily having excellence but achieving balance! You need a good mix and balance of skills and experience.  As well as having specialist skills, team members need to be able to get along with each other.  You want a group that communicates well and works together to achieve results

Set Out the Ground Rules and Style of Working

Right from the start, model how you want the team to behave.  From your very first team meeting, show people how you want them to be behave.  Get there on time and make clear that you expect other people to do the same thing.  Make sure people understand what the team is there to do and what you expect.  Be clear – this is not the time for ambiguity.  Where you can, be ready to include all team members in decision-making.  But make sure people are understand that you are accountable for the decisions made. And make sure people are clear about their own and other people’s roles and who has responsibility for what.  If some things are not settled yet, explain how and when decisions will be made and how people will find out about them.

Have Clear Goals

It is important that the team as a whole has clear and achievable goals and that these are set out for individuals in the team.  Goals need to both attainable and unambiguous. Those set for one person should not be duplicated in the goals set for someone else, nor should they be in conflict. If the achievement of goals depends on out-side factors, people need to understand what they personally will be accountable for. If you want to lift morale, give some thought to goals that, while challenging, can be delivered fairly quickly, so that people can start out with a feeling of success.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Communication is likely to be the most important factor in team success or failure. Your team and stakeholders (others with an interest) need to know what is happening.  Have a strategy for communicating from the beginning – think through who needs to know what and when.  Then set up how you will communicate and how often. Make sure everyone is clear how they will get information.

I hope you find these tips useful.  Teams are great places to work when they are set up properly and time invested at the beginning is never wasted.

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

 

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How Many Leadership Styles Do You Need – Life Cycle Leadership

How Many Leadership Styles Do You Need – Life Cycle Leadership

This is a new version of a very popular post on this site.

I’ve written a lot about how teams behave and my approach has been based on Tuckman’s Team behaviour theory – you can find links to these articles at the bottom of this post. Tuckman’s approach and the leadership theories of Hershey-Blanchard and Adair can be brought together into one simple model.

This shows how different Leadership styles are required across the life cycle of any group activity.

  1. Telling - at the start an activity, task or project, the individual, team or group usually know little about what is required of them and they can be confused and uncoordinated! Generally, they lack the specific skills required for this particular piece of work and they may not know each other. Lacking knowledge and confidence, they are anxious and unwilling to take responsibility for the task. The leader needs to go into “Telling” mode. This means being more directive; focusing on the task, promoting ownership by the individual team member and promoting their confidence. This Telling stage is characterized by one-way communication in which the leader defines the roles of the individual or group and provides the what, how, when, and where to do the task.
  2. Selling – as the group develops, the leader focuses on coaching to get them into the delivery stage! They agree how they will behave to complete the task! But in doing this there may be conflict and a leader may need a facilitative approach to lead them to resolution. They are still not able to take on responsibility; but, they are willing to work at the task. While the leader is still providing the direction and focusing on the task, he or she is now focusing as well on individuals using two-way communication – listening as well as giving instruction. The leader provides the coaching and support needed to help the individual or group buy into the process.
  3. Participating – as the individual or team becomes more confident and self managed the leader concentrates on leading the team overall and develops a delegating style! The team are experienced and able to do the task but may still lack the confidence to take on full responsibility. There is now shared decision-making about how the task will be accomplished and the leader generally provides far less instruction, concentrating instead on strengthening bonds and commitment within the group.
  4. Delegating – when the group is fully mature, the leader is still involved in decisions; but responsibility for how the task will be accomplished has been passed to the group. The leader stays involved to monitor progress. But the group are experienced at the task, and comfortable with their own ability to do it well. They are able and willing not only to do the task, but to take responsibility for its completion.

I have described the stages in terms of group behaviour but the same cycle is seen in the development of individuals when they take on a new role.

No one style is right for any leader all the time. Good leaders need the confidence to be flexible, and to adapt themselves according to the situation. The right leadership style will depend on the person or group being led.

If you would like support in developing your own leadership style, get in touch – my email address is below.

Want to be a Confident Networker? Join my free teleseminar on 26th June 2012

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

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Team Work – bringing in a new team leader.

A picture from 2006 before becoming president ...Team Work – bringing in a new team leader.

Sometimes when you have a project or a piece of work being carried out for you, you need to bring in a new team leader.

Perhaps your existing team leader left suddenly on promotion or for a better opportunity elsewhere. Perhaps things have not been going too well and, as sponsor, you decide you have done as much as you can to support the old team leader – it is time to make a change. Sometimes, sadly, the team leader has been taken ill or in an accident.

Whatever the reason, you have to bring in someone new to lead the project team.

Now, you need to explain what is happening to the team. You don’t want to paint the old leader in a negative light – you know there are loyalties. But you do want them to accept the change and the new leader. What can you do?

Here are some tips.

  1. Give the team a clear and honest explanation for the change. Where things have not been going well, you need to be quite careful about attributing any failure specifically to the old team leader. But you can be clear about why a new approach is needed and then emphasise the background and experience of the new team leader.
  2. Honour the past. If good progress has been made and the old team leader left on good terms, there is something to celebrate. This should be done as part of the change to the new team leader. Again, if the old team leader has been taken ill it is important to recognise the contribution that they and the team have made so far.
  3. Tell the team about the new team leader. Before the new team leader arrives, give the team as much information as you can about the new team leader and why they have been chosen. Show that that both the team and the new team leader have your confidence and make sure the team are clear about the role and your expectations.
  4. Make introductions. When the new team leader arrives introduce them to the team yourself. It is great if this can be over coffee or lunch so that there is an opportunity for some informal chat as well as formal introductions.
  5. Have an induction program. Make sure someone takes responsibility for showing the new team leader round. If you want to minimise any glitch in performance make sure that there is an induction program and that the new leader meets key people and knows who they are.
  6. Follow-up. Remember to check back. Don’t wait for the next formal board or project meeting to find out how the new leader is settling in. A short phone call from you asking how the new team leader is settling in will make them feel them feel appreciated and give you early warning if all is not going well. Touch base with the team themselves sometimes to show you haven’t abandoned them but be careful not to undermine the new team leader when you do it.

If you need support transitioning between team leaders, get in touch. Working with a coach can help a team make the change without disruption.

Wendy Mason is a Career Coach with Life Coaching skills and expertise in helping people have the confidence they need to be successful at work while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason
@wisewolfcoaching.com

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Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 5 – Managing the Adjourning Stage

In a recent post at this link, I introduced the Tuckman theory of how groups/teams develop. Most groups go through a formation process like that described by Dr Tuckman. Understanding the model can help you to lead, manage and facilitate teams and work groups more effectively.

Some group leaders find the stages uncomfortable – they can be challenging to handle. Some stages seem slow and a waste of precious work time. But going through them means that a more cohesive and efficient working group is formed – a group that allows everyone to contribute their best!  A skilled manager can observe the stages happening and help the process along.  That means you get the best outcome for all, in the least time.

In this short series, I discuss how you can lead your group through the stages to achieve a good result.

In my last four posts in this series,  I discussed Stage 1 Forming, Stage 2 Storming, Stage 3 Norming and Stage 4 Performing. In Stage 1 we described how the group will be looking for ground rules. In Stage 2, they set about testing what they think those ground rules might be. In Stage 3, people begin to experience a sense of group belonging and a feeling of relief that conflicts are being resolved. In Stage 4 the group are high-performing, motivated and achieve effective and satisfying results. Now in Stage 5 the group is breaking up – hopefully with its purpose fulfilled.

Not all groups do complete their tasks but even so elements of the process described below need to be managed successfully.

Stage 5 – Adjourning

If the team leader has taken the advice set out for moving from Stage 4, the group will now have delivered the task.  The members can move on to new things carrying forward learning from this experience into their new work. But for that to be done successfully there is a change to be managed.

The break-up can be hard for members who have come to enjoy team routines or who have developed close working relationships with other team members.  People may feel very insecure and anxious about finding a new role.  It is important to celebrate and document what has been achieved and to make sure that all have a chance to share the learning from this group experience. Some group members may need particular support in moving forward. It can be a stressful period, particularly if the group is being broken up before its task is complete.

Leading the group through Stage 5 – Adjourning

What is the role of the leader? With a group in Stage 5, there is an opportunity to use a whole range of management skills.  You are dealing with conflicting emotions in yourself as well as in the team – these can include happiness and pride in a job complete, sadness at the dissolution and, even, anger if the group is being disbanded for less than noble reasons.

There may be some mundane but important tasks to complete around archiving and record keeping for governance purposes but team member may find it difficult to find the motivation to complete them,  Also encouraging honesty and sharing around lessons learned by the group during its lifetime, means that you need to keep the members’ trust. A positive outcome is you lead them to acknowledge the task is complete, accepting the best and worst of the process and then to let go and say goodbye

What could be problems in Stage 5 – Adjourning?

Team members may well have feelings of dislocation and loss.  People deal with their feelings in different ways.  You may find some lose motivation completely and start to avoid the necessary work.  Others may argue over minor details and you find them reverting to storming – old arguments re-surface.  Others may deny or try to pretend that isn’t really the end and find excuses to prolong the process. Leading/managing means being vigilant, identifying what is happening and intervening with understanding and support.

This is the end of this series on the Tuckman Model – Forming, Norming, Storming, Performing and Adjourning.  But I’d welcome your thoughts and your questions.  Please share your own experience of handling Stage 5. What lessons do you have to pass on to others?

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason @wisewolfcoaching.com
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Preparing for the Job Interview – Managing Teams

If you are preparing for a job interview as a manager, team leader or project manager you might be interested in a series of posts I’m writing on our sister blog, Wisewolf Talking.

In a recent post at this link, I introduced the Tuckman theory of how groups/teams develop (forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning). Most groups go through a formation process like that described by Dr Tuckman. Understanding the model can help you to lead, manage and facilitate teams and work groups more effectively.

Some group leaders find the stages uncomfortable – they can be challenging to handle. Some stages seem slow and a waste of precious work time. But going through them means that a more cohesive and efficient working group is formed – a group that allows everyone to contribute their best!  A skilled manager can observe the stages happening and help the process along.  That means you get the best outcome for all, in the least time.

I’ve followed that initial post with posts on  Stage 1 FormingStage 2 Storming and Stage 3 Norming. In Stage 1 I described how the group will be looking for ground rules. In Stage 2, they set about testing what they think those ground rules might be. In Stage 3, people begin to experience a sense of group belonging and a feeling of relief that conflicts are being resolved.

This week I’ve written about Stage 4 - now the group are high-performing, motivated and achieve effective and satisfying results. Next week, all being well, I’ll be tackling the final stage, Adjourning.

I hope the material is useful to you and I’d welcome any comments you have to add from your own experience of team management.

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have
the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career. She can help you – email her at
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

Other useful articles

 

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Preparing for the Job Interview – Managing Teams

If you are preparing for a job interview as a manager, team leader or project manager you might be interested in a series of posts I’m writing on our sister blog, Wisewolf Talking.

In a recent post at this link, I introduced the Tuckman theory of how groups/teams develop (forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning). Most groups go through a formation process like that described by Dr Tuckman. Understanding the model can help you to lead, manage and facilitate teams and work groups more effectively.

Some group leaders find the stages uncomfortable – they can be challenging to handle. Some stages seem slow and a waste of precious work time. But going through them means that a more cohesive and efficient working group is formed – a group that allows everyone to contribute their best!  A skilled manager can observe the stages happening and help the process along.  That means you get the best outcome for all, in the least time.

I’ve followed that initial post with posts on  Stage 1 FormingStage 2 Storming and Stage 3 Norming. In Stage 1 I described how the group will be looking for ground rules. In Stage 2, they set about testing what they think those ground rules might be. In Stage 3, people begin to experience a sense of group belonging and a feeling of relief that conflicts are being resolved.

This week I’ve written about Stage 4 - now the group are high-performing, motivated and achieve effective and satisfying results. Next week, all being well, I’ll be tackling the final stage, Adjourning.

I hope the material is useful to you and I’d welcome any comments you have to add from your own experience of team management.

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have
the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career. She can help you – email her at
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

Other useful articles

 

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Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 4 – Managing the Performing Stage

Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 4 – Managing the Performing Stage

 is a Career Coach and Life Coach helping you to solve difficult problems at work

In a recent post at this link, I introduced the Tuckman theory of how groups/teams develop. Most groups go through a formation process like that described by Dr Tuckman. Understanding the model can help you to lead, manage and facilitate teams and work groups more effectively.

Some group leaders find the stages uncomfortable – they can be challenging to handle. Some stages seem slow and a waste of precious work time. But going through them means that a more cohesive and efficient working group is formed – a group that allows everyone to contribute their best!  A skilled manager can observe the stages happening and help the process along.  That means you get the best outcome for all, in the least time.

In this short series, I discuss how you can lead your group through the stages to achieve a good result.

In my last three posts in this series,  I discussed Stage 1 Forming, Stage 2 Storming and Stage 3 Norming. In Stage 1 we described how the group will be looking for ground rules. In Stage 2, they set about testing what they think those ground rules might be. In Stage 3, people begin to experience a sense of group belonging and a feeling of relief that conflicts are being resolved. Now, in Stage 4 the group are high-performing, motivated and achieve effective and satisfying results.

Not all groups are able to reach Stage 4; they achieve the task but without ever truly excelling.

Stage 4 – Performing.

If the team leader has taken the advice set out for moving from Stage 3, the group will now be delivering the task with a high degree of openness, trust, confidence and autonomy.

The work itself is carried out to a high standard and the group take pride in group results and superior performance. Problems are seen as opportunities and they are tackled constructively.

The group can make decisions and solve problems quickly. People may challenge each other and there are can be healthy differences of opinion.  But these are resolved in a friendly manner.  The group has the confidence to review and revise work processes if necessary. New ways of doing things are considered and incorporated.

Leading the group through Stage 4 – Performing

What is the role of the leader? With a group in Stage 4, the leader does not need to be involved in decision-making, problem solving or the day-to-day work of the team. People now work effectively as a group. The leader monitors progress and celebrates achievements; this helps to maintain morale and the performance of the group. The leader is also the conduit for any strategic decisions which need to be made at a higher level, for the group to complete their work.

What if they don’t stay in Stage 4 – Performing?

There remains a possibility that the group could revert back to an earlier stage. For example, if someone leaves, new members join or one of the existing members starts to work independently or outside the rules (formal or informal) subscribed to by the rest of the group.  It is possible then for the team to revert back to an earlier stage, until they have come to term with the change or the issues are resolved. If this happens, the leader should become more actively engaged again.  This could mean more close supervision for a while and encouraging them to have the confidence to go back to trying out new ideas and working independently, while remaining part of the group. They need you to be a cheerleader again – encouraging your group and recognizing them for the good work they are doing.

Now we are moving towards completion of the task – the next post will be about Stage 5 Adjourning

I’d welcome your thoughts and your questions.  Please share your own experience of handling Stage 4. What lessons do you have to pass on to others?

236419442_80_807Wendy Mason is a Career Coach and Life Coach helping you to solve difficult problems at work
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com 
http://wisewolfcoaching.

Other useful articles

 

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