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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There is another key point to keep in mind. When a member of the group or the entire group is stuck at one level it is often because the group has not successfully met the interpersonal needs of its members. When openness is not readily achieved then the group might wish to revisit the way it has established authority and control. When control is being handled poorly and conflict is rampant and nonproductive, the group might wish to go back to its founding principles and processes so that group members might see how inclusion has been handled and to determine if members really want to be involved. Issues of control, after all, are often disguising more fundamental concerns about finding an appropriate way to join a group (or even to determine whether this is the right group to join).

It should also be noted by all members of group (especially its leaders) that the level of overall trust in a group or Team is no greater than that of the member with the least amount of trust. Until all members of a Team feel free to express their feelings about (as well as share their observations of) group functioning, the movement to Team is unlikely to occur. It is always tempting to either blame reticent members of a group for not being trustful (thus further increasing their reluctance) or isolate and ignore these members (which usually leads to high levels of faux openness among those “more advanced” members).

Finally, members of a performing Team must keep in mind that their group is never static—there will always be movement back and forth among the four stages. For instances, when new people enter a group or team, its members must at least temporarily return to matters of inclusion and then control. When a new member enters the group or team, there must be a focus again on the purpose and dynamics of the group or Team. Clarity about and commitment to the founding purposes of the group or Team should never be taken for granted. The new member is deciding at some level whether they want to be an active member of this group or team. This includes determining if they truly “buy in” to the founding purpose of the group. And do they like the folks with whom they are about to work? And is this a group that is welcoming or is it exclusionary?

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