What is team development? There are various answers to this question. In a nutshell, team development is about improving the performance of all team members. The surest way to achieve this is for your team members to trust each other, to work in a committed manner, Assume responsibility and focus on achieving results.
Team development always takes place in a team, even without actively working on it. However, if team development is left to chance, the end result may well be different than desired. The term team development covers the different phases of team development that members go through when structuring teamwork.
Essentially, the goal of team development is to promote better teamwork and team spirit in a team. Various measures, seminars and workshops serve this purpose. They form the basis for ensuring that certain basic conditions are met in teams that make a team successful, such as:
There are certain situations where team development is particularly important. These include, for example:
Active team development should ensure that teamwork functions in the best possible way. To do this, teams must first get to know themselves properly. In certain exercises, team members discover how they react to themselves and others and how their relationship is with the other team members.
The team development measures increase the social skills of the individual team members. This increases the sense of togetherness and improves the working atmosphere. The roles within the team also become clearer. Team members learn to communicate and react appropriately with each other. They get tools for the Conflict Management and, as a rule, team development measures increase employee motivation.
Optimized work processes lead to a reduction in costs. Team development reduces the fluctuation rate because employees learn to deal with each other better, resulting in fewer conflicts in teamwork. If conflicts do arise, team members know how to resolve their differences productively.
Team development promotes the motivation of employees and increases their performance. In the end, there are employees who have a mutual understanding, are better able to deal with each other and have the desire to implement a common vision. This ensures increased performance in a more pleasant working atmosphere.
Team development according to Tuckman comprises five phases of team development, which Bruce Tuckman developed in the 1960s. Team development according to Tuckman is primarily concerned with the formation of new teams. However, the individual phases of team development can also be applied elsewhere if there is a need in a team. The duration and intensity of the individual phases of team development also vary from team to team.
The first phase of team development according to Tuckman concerns the formation of a new team. The members of a new team have been put together on the basis of their knowledge and skills. Now they get to know each other. They get a first impression of each other, develop first sympathies and antipathies. A distribution of roles also takes place in the first phase and it crystallizes who will take on which tasks. Even at this early stage, individual team members may exchange ideas.
The second phase in team development according to Tuckman is dedicated to the emergence of the first conflicts. The English term for this phase is "storming". The first conflicts put the team to the test. These may stem from individuals not feeling comfortable in their role in teamwork. It may be that certain tasks and roles have been distributed inappropriately. Symptoms of this can be indecision, differing priorities or power struggles.
Conflicts are not a sign that the team is not good - they occur in the best teams. However, so that neither teamwork nor the working atmosphere suffer, it is important to address the conflicts and find solutions. At the same time, initial work processes are organized, regardless of whether conflicts are currently smoldering or not.
The third phase in team development according to Tuckman is the "Norming" phase. Tasks, methods and rules for successful teamwork are now finally defined. If conflicts continue to exist in the team, they are resolved at this point at the latest. Communication and teamwork are now so mature that the processes function smoothly.
Whether many words are needed at this stage depends on the team. It may well be that the team members harmonize so well with each other that this phase takes place in silent agreement. If this is not the case, the major building sites have nevertheless already been worked on in the last phase, so that it is now only a matter of fine-tuning.
The fourth phase of team development according to Tuckman is a stable and effective team. The English name of the phase is "Performing". Teamwork now functions smoothly and constructively. The team is now able to organize itself. Neither does it need outside intervention, nor is this advisable at this stage. If the manager were to actively intervene in the processes, this could endanger the team's independence.
At this point, team development has its Target reached. However, neither a team nor the relationships within it are static. Constant change can lead to a renewed need for team development. In this case, the manager should initiate appropriate measures.
If the team is temporary, the last phase of team development according to Tuckman is the dissolution phase. This phase is characterized by evaluation, documentation and reflection. It is also important for the team members to say goodbye to their time and teamwork together. However, the documentation also helps future teams that might face similar difficulties.
Patrick Lencioni has defined the success characteristics of a team and also defined the counterpart, i.e. the characteristics of a dysfunctional team. You can recognize a functional team by the fact that there is a strong foundation of mutual trust. This means that the team is capable of dealing with conflicts and resolving them productively. So there is a functioning conflict culture.
In functioning teams there is commitment. The individual team members take responsibility for the whole, be it in the completion of their individual tasks or in teamwork. In addition, all employees focus on the results. They work together to achieve specific goals.
By contrast, in dysfunctional teams the basis of mutual Mistrust characterized. A false harmony and a culture of self-commitment prevail in the team. For example, team members are unwilling to take responsibility. Instead, they focus on status and ego.
Lencioni shows that teams only work when their focus is on what they have achieved together, team members take responsibility and commit to the team. Team members must not be afraid of conflicts or of solving them with each other in an open communication culture. For all of this to be possible, mutual trust is needed as a strong foundation for the team.
Coaching, which is carried out by a trainer or coach external to the team, often even external to the company, is also excellently suited for team development. The coach supports the team professionally and neutrally during the individual phases of team development.
The coach works closely with the management, the Management or the HR department. Together with these institutions, he develops a concept for team development, which he implements with the appropriate measures. Is the Coaching there is usually a reflection and debriefing. This gives team members the opportunity to share their experiences and lessons learned in the Coaching to reflect and verbalize.
A coach uses various measures to advance team development. These include events, workshops, conferences or games. Outdoor training is also possible. A good coach should clearly communicate what his philosophy is regarding team development. He should understand the interests and Needs of the individual team members and align his actions with the company's goals and values. In addition, it is welcomed if he brings along a large repertoire of methods, all of which he can apply with confidence.
Essentially, the methods used in team development measures can be divided into two groups: classic methods and practical exercises. Classic methods include communication techniques, workshops on feedback techniques, conferences and other theoretical methods.
Practical exercises include actions that strengthen team spirit. These are usually playful and/or physical activities. For example, you can go on excursions with your team, organise outdoor training or team events, or carry out other activities with your employees that take place outside their usual working environment.
There are also typical team games. In the Gordian knot, the team members untangle a human knot together. In the spider's web, they overcome an intertwined web in community. However, there is no game or measure that always suits every team. The important thing is to choose methods that fit the needs of your specific team.
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