Building the dream: is your team performing?

Team building is hard. Your first hires are really important to get right and shape the future of the company.

The trouble is that when you build a team, even with the best intentions to have them get along, it will take a while for them to work together effectively.

They're not a race car

It would be super if you could build a team, hit the gas, and watch them fly. But unfortunately that's not the case. It takes time to build up momentum. You have to learn about each other. Learn about how each person works best.

Going through changes

For a team to be able to get their maximum productivity, they have to go through a few stages of development. Bruce Tuckman, a professor of educational psychology, came up with a theory in 1965 on how to get a team through the rough spots and out the other side.

Forming

In the early days the team will behave independently. Each person will do their own thing. And that's okay, they need to adjust to their area of responsibility. But, as they become more comfortable, each member of the team will need to let go of their ego a little to work with others.

Storming

If your team is lucky, this step might not last too long – or not at all. But for some teams it's necessary. Disagreements happen, discussions turn into arguments. The thing to remember that while unpleasant, you can come out the other side. Your team might not having blazing rows, but a team at 'cold war' can be awkward to work in. Not a lot will get done.

The key is to find areas to work together on to help push the team through it. If each team member can give a little bit of leeway to the others, you’ll be able to push through to the next stage.

Norming

Once through the heat of storming, the team being to work together without causing conflict. The team start to work together for a common goal. While it seems like this is a great place to be, it could stop team members from sharing problems or concerns for fear of reverting back to storming.

Performing

And finally, the team can succeed to the best of their ability. They can raise concerns the right way without fear of an argument, and know which battles to fight. The team have expectations of each other and they can grow with each other. They work efficiently together for a common goal.

It's hard work

It can take a while to get there, but it is necessary. There are no shortcuts. But to have a team that works together and can bounce off each other is the best a team can ever be. While the process is painful, the end result is worth it.

Shape your team

Your first hires will shape the company and its culture. They’re vitally important for the team. But don't be afraid to just hire the same type of people for fear of creating conflict. A strong team is a diverse team. You need people from all walks of life.

If you can do this, you'll have a stronger performing team as a result. Yes, it's hard work – but if it wasn't, it wouldn't be worth it.