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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Domains and Needs

The domain of Intentions is of primary importance at this third stage in the development of the potential Team—as it begins to take on the form and dynamics of a Team. Azure Blue pervades the Stage Three landscape. Members of the group want to know how the potential Team is really going to be operating and what behaviors are really acceptable in this potential Team. The interpersonal need for Openness tends to be dominant.

“Do I want to share my own thoughts and feelings about being a member and my own observations about what is happening in the potential Team and what I hope will happen?” “What about other members of the potential Team: how open do I want them to be?”  “Do I sit back and become an attentive listener to what other people have to say? Or am I going to be one of those members who moves the potential Team forward in monitoring and further refining its own operations?” Refinements inevitably are needed if the group is to become an effectively functioning Team.

In the area of interpersonal behavior, the third stage of development is characterized by the development of genuine Team cohesion. In this stage, Team members accept the Team and one another; and, consequently, develop an important sense of Team unity. Team harmony becomes important in this stage, and interpersonal conflict may be avoided to help ensure that harmony. In the realm of task behavior, Team members in the norming stage attempt to answer the question, “What relevant ideas and opinions do I have that will help us accomplish this task?” In the realm of interpersonal behavior, Team members attempt to answer the question, “How can I help contribute to continued Team unity and harmony?”

Opportunities and Challenges of Openness

We shift our attention to conditions that would be ideal for our third interpersonal need to be successfully addressed and for movement of the potential Team to fourth stage performance as a Team. The first requirement is that issues of inclusion and control have been identified, resolved and managed effectively in an ongoing manner. Otherwise, a group ends up with faux openness. We suggest that “genuine” openness is often an elusive phenomenon. People may seem to be open, but it is often just an appearance of openness—what they show the world when they actually want “to keep their cards close to the vest.” They indicate that they value the contributions made by other members of the group—and may even heap effusive praise on other members. Yet, we know nothing about why the contribution has been valuable or about how the potential Team might learn from this moment of appreciation.

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