Teams are properly effective only when everyone learns to pull together. You must understand team dynamics in order to ensure the success of your team. Good team leaders make the most of the human assets at their disposal. To do this, you need to understand each group member, how their behaviour changes within the team, and how individual responses vary at different stages in the team’s development.


Encouraging Teamwork

Humans operate well in groups – a characteristic that can be seen in sporting teams, in which people instinctively cooperate voluntarily, take on responsibility, and endorse decisions for the overall good of the team. To achieve the same cohesive behavior in a work environment, team members need to overcome any inclination to be defensive with each other. Encourage your team to spend as much time together as possible – humans are naturally gregarious creatures and will overcome any initial reticence as they grow to recognize each other’s particular skills and strengths.

Understanding Team Development

A team grows and changes markedly during its lifetime. The process of development has been described as having four stages: forming, storming, norming, and performing. All teams pass through the initial stage of being brought together as a group.  This is a tentative period that can easily develop into a “storming” phase in which people are unsure of each other and confused, and may become aggressive at times. With strong leadership, methods of working can be fully agreed on in the “norming” stage, before the team goes on to perform at its best for the duration of the project. 

Using Managing Tactics

There are various management styles, but often, successful management – and improving team efficiency – hinges on your team’s ability to adapt your style to the changing dynamics within a team as it develops. Team management tactics may vary from autocratic to liberal, but even the most tolerant and sharing of leaders needs to be able to control their team. Firm leadership is the foundation of collaborative, cooperative, and efficient teamwork. 

Forming A Team

The formative stage of any project is always slightly experimental, and a team can be an excellent testing ground for new ideas.  Although experiments should be worked with care to give them a fair chance of success, a major part of teamwork is knowing how to recognize mistakes early and then to move and correct defects without anger and recrimination.  Dealing with failed experiments is part of the learning process summed up in the “forming” progression. Remember that different solutions are required at varying stages of the team’s development.

Resolving Conflict

In the ‘storming” part of the life of a team, conflicts can take place between:

  1. The leader and individual and team members;
  2. The leader and the whole team;
  3. Individual team members

These conflicts can be emotional, factual, constructive, destructive, argumentative, open, or suppressive. Try to resolve any disputes among team members by replacing emotive approaches to a problem with rational, open-minded ones.

Adapting Your Role

During the development of a team, changes in the management role occur. In the first instance, the team leader is predominantly an organizer who puts the team together. As the team settles, your role changes to that of counselor or troubleshooter. When the team is functioning – or “norming” – inspirational leadership is required to maintain momentum.  During the final phase, “performing”, act as facilitator to keep the team’s wheels running.

Developing Members’ Roles

It is not only the nature of teams to change over time – so do the abilities of the members as they build on their personal skills. With experience, individuals learn how to be team members, solve problems, and work together successfully. At each stage of the development of your team, set challenging goals, review its working methods, and question its achievements to improve overall performance.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do change your leadership style according to the needs of your team.
  • Do stress and support the values established by your team.
  • Should be seen to react positively to novel and creative ideas
  • We do encourage individual and group learning at every stage of the team’s development.
  • Don’t always dismiss conflict as somebody else’s fault – look to see if you are to blame.
  • Don’t shirk any issues in which you feel strong management is needed for success.
  • Don’t let “not invented here” kill promoting new initiatives.
  • Don’t miss the times when your leadership qualities are needed by your team.

Points to Note

  1. Teams should spend as much time together as possible within working hours
  2.  People need to be comfortable working well together
  3. Negative behavior within a team needs to be wiped out at the earliest opportunity.
  4. The underlying causes of trouble should be dealt with at once.


  1. Help your team find a way to change obstructive group behavior.
  2. Look for ways to use conflict constructively.
  3. Remember that everyone deserves some fun during work hours.
  4. Always conduct a thorough, open analysis when projects go wrong.
  5. Have an open-door policy if you want to be accessible.
  6. Ask people who bring you problems to bring solutions.
  7. Meet informally to discuss your team’s progress.
  8. Use dispassionate fact-finding as the best method of defusing conflict.  



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