Teamwork: The Missing Ingredient

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Forming & Storming

Teamwork isn’t something that just happens when a group of people gather to perform a task together. Various intricacies permeate team dynamics, many of which can be either helpful or harmful. The psychology of team development has been pondered and researched for the past several decades, most famously with psychologist Bruce Tuckman’s 1960s model involving Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing, collectively known as FSNP.

The formation of a team might involve members volunteering to tackle a challenge together, exemplified by the superheroes of DC’s Justice League or Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring. As conveyed here by organizational consultant Peter Kappus, volunteering for a team or assignment may provide a greater sense of agency than merely being directed or pressured into it, as was Nick Fury’s approach with assembling Marvel’s Avengers.

Unsurprisingly, how a team is formed may contribute significantly to ensuing dynamics and attitudes, leading directly into the storming stage. It’s here that a team settles down to truly tackle the work ahead. It’s also when members tend to inadvertently step on each other’s toes or demonstrate a work style contrary to what another teammate is comfortable with.

Without a solid foundational awareness of oneself and others’ needs, we may find ourselves pulled from productivity and into unwarranted hostility, depicted in this scene from The Avengers. A healthy dose of emotional and relational intelligence can help a team get back on track. To ease the tensions provoked by individual differences, leaders and members should practice an awareness of the characteristics and needs of teammates, readily illustrated by the SurePeople Relationship Advisor.

Teams are formed every day through any number of instances. Successful navigation of a group’s nuances, whether as a leader or member, requires putting effort into learning about the people around us. Not just their skillsets, but rather, who they are as people.

As management consultant Patrick Lencioni expresses in this TED Talk, neglecting the importance of emotional intelligence in teams and groups results in team dysfunction. It’s a concept ubiquitously discussed jokingly and woefully regarding common misunderstandings within families—our default, intrinsic teams.

Teamwork doesn’t just happen by simple merit of a group being together. It takes effort, understanding, and willingness.

“It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
– Charles Darwin

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