Home Concepts Strategy Coaching with Groups and Teams The Journey from Group to Team: Stages of Development and the Human Spectrum

The Journey from Group to Team: Stages of Development and the Human Spectrum

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In the midst of this concern about authority, the interpersonal need for Control tends to be dominant. “Do I want there to be firm control in this group or would I like it to be a bit more relaxed?” “If I do want the control to be firmly established, then do I want to be assigned or acquire any of this control—or do I want someone else to take control?” “At the very least, do I want to be influential in this group or do I want to sit back and see where the group is moving and how it is addressing the conflicts that arise?”

In the area of interpersonal behavior, the second stage of Team development will be characterized by interpersonal conflict. Hostility may be directed by Team members toward one another or toward the formal leader of the Team, perhaps as a way of expressing individual differences or of resisting the continued imposition of structure on individual behavior. A sense of unity will not be present, and conflict may polarize around certain key issues.

Essentially, the Team will be experiencing a conflict between wishing to remain in the relative security of stage one or move into the unknown of perhaps closer interpersonal relations that may be established in the future. In the realm of task behavior, Team members in the storming stage attempt to answer the question, “Am I emotionally ready to deal with this task?” In the realm of interpersonal behavior, Team members in the storming stage attempt to answer the question, “Do I really want to work with these people!”

Opportunities and Challenges of Control

Given the struggles often associated with the need for control—struggles that can often leave “bruised egos” and alienated interpersonal relationships, it is important to identify conditions that lead to the most successful negotiation of control and authority issues. The simple answer is that the most efficient working environment is one in which strong formal authority is established.

This answer, however, tells us little about how this authority is established. Perhaps of even greater importance is the process by which this authority is maintained. Credibility is ultimately a matter of successful performance by those in authority—along with a strong dose of fairness, emotional intelligence and some luck (the impact of outside forces).

Let’s begin by turning to the establishment of control and authority. We know that authority in a group can come from at least six sources. First, the authority can be assigned by an external source that has credibility or position power (as the person to whom this group reports). While this is the most common source of authority, it is also important to mention the other sources.

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