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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The Indifference Phenomenon: A low need for control can be precipitated by a pervasive sense among group members that nothing of importance is happening in the group. If there is any struggle for control, it is a struggle that has no content—a display of raw need for control. Frequently, the real issue is not control; rather, it is about inclusion. “Why should I even be a member of this group. It is doing nothing important.” No purpose has been assigned to this group nor has any purpose been identified by the group itself.

For some reason, the group is required to meet—or this becomes an easy way to fill time (since group members don’t really care much about the other things that they “should” be doing). An endless set of meeting take place that serve no important function. This state of indifference is not uncommon in many organizations—especially those that are large and filled with complacency. A low level of engagement is inevitable under these conditions. “We don’t have to worry about what is happening inside or outside this organization”.

There is one other point to be made regarding the indifference phenomenon. Group members are often indifferent about pointing out that indifference is reigning supreme in this group. Why risk being wrong: some members think there is important work being done by the group. Worse yet, why risk being hated by pointing out the obvious. The king (or group) really isn’t wearing any clothes (not doing anything important). Do we really want to acknowledge this? In some ways indifference and anarchy come from the same source: a sense of alienation. And we know that alienation tends to be associated with an unwillingness to be open about anything—which is the third interpersonal need (to which we now turn).

Establishing Proper Control

This second stage of group development is ultimately concerned with the issue of trust. Members of the group must address three different dimensions of trust. First, there is the matter of trusting the competence of other members of the group. If expert authority is to play any role in the movement of a group to a Team, then group members must believe that relevant knowledge and skills are being respected and engaged by the group. Furthermore, if authority is based on the formal designation of leadership in the group, then group members must feel confident that this leader (or leadership Team) bring appropriate knowledge and skills regarding Team leadership to this group.

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