Employees need to feel secure about the future, proud and a part of their companies to perform at their best. Few companies can deliver that supportive environment today. Whether a company is directly impacted by today’s economy or not, people cannot escape the economic tension.
During these times of uncertainty, teambuilding may help support the emotional needs of employees. Teamwork has been promoted as a management solution since Bruce Tuckman introduced the Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing Model in the mid-1960s. Tuckman added Adjourning as a final stage ten years later.
Paul Hershey and Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Theory ® (SLT)
focuses on the follower’s ability and willingness to perform. The leader’s style is contingent on the follower’s skill and will quotient. There is a positive correlation between Tuckman’s stages of teambuilding and leadership styles described by Hershey and Blanchard.
There’s also a strong correlation between Tuckman’s stages and Patrick Lencioni’s team functions. Lencioni’s best seller Five Dysfunctions of a Team that focuses on collective team behaviors.
All approaches agree the purpose of teambuilding is to increase trust and openness among people working together. According to Tuckman, people are initially overtly polite, keeping thoughts to themselves, having little to no trust in the Forming Stage. The first SLT style is Directing/Telling which accepts and responds to the followers low level of trust; leaving the leader with the responsibility. Likewise, Lencioni’s first dysfunction is the absence of trust. However, Lencioni’s focus is vulnerability– based trust. His approach to overcome the absence of trust is to create an environment where people can admit their weaknesses, accept input and offer apologies.
Storming , Tuckman’s second stage, mirrors Lencioni’s second dysfunction, fear of conflict. SLT’s second style is selling/coaching accounting for the first level of two-way communication.
Norming, where general consensus has been reached is well matched to SLT’s third leadership style of Supporting/ Participating. Lencioni’s third dysfunction parallels the others, lack of commitment.
Team members have a shared vision in the Performing stage, the SLT leadership style is Delegating, and Lencioni’s dysfunction is Lack of Accountability. Clearly, these theories match.
Tuckman’s Adjourning stage recognizes the end of a project or the next organizational change. SLT ends with Delegating; transferring the decision making and problem solving responsibility to the team. But Lencioni moves on to Dysfunction 5, Inattention to Results. Overcoming this stage may be defined as a sense that the team’s goals are more important than the individual’s goals. Perhaps this stage in team building is the greatest thing since… Tuckman.