When a new team member starts…

When a new team member starts…

Read our latest blog from Rachel, the newest addition to the RSE Team.

It’s been really interesting for me with my new business development of aligning my services with one of my clients.  I am strategically linked now with a fabulous company and this means for part of my working week I am part of their team.

For the last 4 years I have worked independently and been a bit of an outsider really, to a degree, in my working life.  I have been coming in and out the organisations I’ve worked with, whilst being quite well integrated –  not quite fully belonging.

That’s changed now.  I belong.  It feels great!

Previously I have been the observer of a situation like the one in which I find myself.  So being right in has been refreshing.

I am reminded of Tuckman’s “forming, storming, norming, performing” four-stage model. This describes the process that happens when teams form. Of course when a new member starts and joins a team it sets the process of again.

Tuckman’s theory says that teams progress through recognisible stages as follows:

  1. forming
  2. storming
  3. norming
  4. performing

Here are the features of each phase: see http://www.businessballs.com/tuckmanformingstormingnormingperforming.htm

Forming – stage 1

Here there is high dependence on the leader for guidance and direction along with little agreement on team aims other than received from the leader. Individual roles and responsibilities are unclear. The leader must be prepared to answer lots of questions about the team’s purpose, objectives and external relationships. Processes are often ignored. Members test the tolerance of system and leader. The leader tends towards directing the team.

Storming – stage 2

At this stage the decisions don’t come easily within group. Team members vie for position as they attempt to establish themselves in relation to other team members and the leader, who might receive challenges from team members. Clarity of purpose increases but plenty of uncertainties persist. Cliques and factions form and there may be power struggles. The team needs to be focused on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationships and emotional issues. Compromises may be required to enable progress. The leader uses coaching skills.

Norming – stage 3

By now there is a good degree of agreement and consensus among the team, who respond well to facilitation by leader. Roles and responsibilities are clear and accepted. Big decisions are made by group agreement. Smaller decisions may be delegated to individuals or small teams within group. Commitment and unity is strong. There is general respect for the leader and some of leadership is more shared by the team.

Performing – stage 4

By now the team is more strategically aware; the team knows clearly why it is doing what it is doing. The team has a shared vision and is able to stand on its own feet. There is a focus on over-achieving goals, and the team makes most of the decisions against criteria agreed with the leader. The team has a high degree of autonomy. Disagreements occur but now they are resolved within the team positively, and necessary changes to processes and structure are made by the team. Team members look after each other. The team requires delegated tasks and projects from the leader.

By adding a new person into a team it can tend to take a time to go back to Performing as the team dynamics change.

What helps to reduce this disruption?

  • A good inductions process if the team member is a new employee.
  • A clearly defined company vision, set of values and standards which are communicated well.
  • Honesty and trust in a culture of feedback.

Of course, all of this is depends on a robust recruitment process!

I’ll keep you posted on developments and hope that I’m not too disruptive!


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