Do you remember our scenario to start this module? Lisa, with IT Solutions, has been given a major project and five individuals to get it done with. She has tight deadlines, and the project is for a major client—so the pressure is on. Lisa knows she needs to get the most out of this team, and she is familiar with the five stages of team development covered in this module. Let’s see how she manages through the stages.
Lisa brings everyone together for a face-to-face meeting on day one of the project. She knows that during this first stage of team development, everyone is getting to know each other. To facilitate this process, she opens the meeting with some icebreakers and a “getting to know you” time. As expected, they all try to find their particular place on the team given the skills and experiences of the others. As time passes, Lisa can see that they are starting to open up and share more about themselves. They are successfully transitioning to stage two.
Lisa has anxiously awaited this moment. From her study of management and team dynamics, she understands that the storming phase is critical to manage. She begins to see signs of friction between team members. Wendy and Paul begin to jockey for position because both have strong project management backgrounds. Additionally, Dan begins to feel like the team is ignoring his opinions given that he has the least amount of experience.
It is important that Lisa exert influence at this crucial time in the team’s formation. She patiently waits for a little while to see if things resolve, but she acts when they don’t. She pulls everyone back together and reminds them of the project’s importance and each person’s agreed upon scope of responsibility. She also establishes a process for dealing with any differences of opinion going forward.
By stepping in and giving firm guidance, Lisa is able to bring the team together under her leadership. As a result, she begins to gain confidence in the outcome of the project.
The project is moving along now, and the team is working together very well. The disputes that arose in stage two are a thing of the past, and the team is becoming a cohesive unit. Each team member is sharing his or her knowledge, which serves to both bind the team and develop it. On a personal level, the team members are becoming good friends. They are socializing outside of work and truly enjoy one another’s company. Lisa is excited because she knows what’s coming next!
As the deadline nears, the team is performing at an amazingly high level. The work is being completed ahead of schedule and exceeds the requirements the customer established. Paul told Lisa that in all his years of experience, he has never had so much fun while working so hard. Lisa’s boss is happy because all of this is being done well under budget, so IT Solutions is going to have a good year financially as a result.
Now that the project is over, Lisa gets everyone together again so that they can celebrate the win and say proper good-byes. Because the project was so successful, each member of the team has already been given their choice of next assignments in the organization. Similarly, Lisa has been identified as a rising star, and the executive team has big plans for her. They all exchange contact information and make plans to stay in touch as they move their separate ways. This has been an amazing experience for them all.
Learning to lead a team is important no matter what functional area of business you enter. A key role of management is to deliver results through others—and the strategies you have learned in this module will serve you well throughout your career.