Bill, a boss at Bywater Manufacturing, has just returned from a dysfunctional staff meeting. The five participants are ineffective communicators and do not recognize the value of coordination. The team is in the storming period, which is marked by tension on both a personal and mission basis. As a result, some participants become alienated, while others stay quiet. The inference is that the meeting had no concrete outcomes, and there has been no evidence of progress gained over the last two months. To accomplish its aim, the team must develop a shared vision and promote confidence.
When asked, Miguel has a history of withdrawing and declining to defend his ideas. It seems that he does not want his ideas challenged and if it happens, he gets defensive and backs-off. Miguel is not assertive because he does not stand up and defend his views. It is crucial for Bill to make Miguel understand that letting others question your ideas is an essential part of effective communication. Miguel must also realize that all the ideas are contributing to developing a new technique for the molding and production rings, and therefore, he is not always right. As a result, Miguel needs to embrace criticism and not take it negatively and be ready to provide further clarification when a colleague raises concern over his presentation.
Jill is not ready to share his ideas with other team members. Failure to share knowledge is a sign of lack of trust in a team. The team lacks a shared identity regarding the goals and objectives. The first step is to clarify the team’s collective goal and influence the members to own them and be ready to exert effort. Jill is also reluctant to share his ideas because the member’s input is not recognized and appreciated. Therefore, Bill must ensure that the team understands that they share a common goal (develop a new technology) and members should put aside self-interest for the good of the team (Adler, Keckscher, and Prusak 5). Also, the members must learn that the contribution of each member is valuable and the sharing of ideas and knowledge leads to better performance and results (Lee et al. 475)
Thomas spends the entire meeting answering email and playing word games on his phone. The concern is that none of the team members asks him to pay attention and participate in the discussion. This is an evidence of a lack of shared purpose and leadership. A leader within the team would ask Thomas to focus on the task at hand. Bill needs to identify a leader within the group who will expect full attention and participation from every team member (“set the record straight”).
Opal is utterly disinterested in the team’s affairs because he does not make a contribution and is indifferent to the proceedings (going with the tide). Opal is isolated from the group, and his behavior is problematic (Bonebright 114). In this situation, Bill should talk with Opal to identify why he is not interested in participating. Listening to Opal is key as Bill seeks to understand the possible reasons for his indifference. It is an opportunity to remind him of the importance of the team’s task, and his/her contributions are needed for the team to be successful. On the other hand, Velma is interested in her personal affairs as she keeps running in and out of the meeting and has not made any contribution within the two months. This points out to a lack of processes and structure within the team. Bill should set up a set of structures that will govern the behavior of individuals, for instance, no moving out unnecessarily.
Since its formation two months ago, the team has not accomplished anything. Reversing this situation requires Bill to help the members define a shared vision for their meetings and clarify the organization’s expectations. Also, it is crucial to identify a leader within the group whose role is to ensure that the members stay on track with the tasks on hand. Also, an open environment that encourages feedback and participation from all members can be created through team bonding sessions such as challenges and puzzles.
In conclusion, the team is at a delicate stage where some members are isolated, others seek to assert their dominance, and the team has failed to focus on the project at hand. Bill must create a shared vision where the focus of all the members is to attain a mutual goal. Also, the team needs a leader who will call the members to focus on the task at hand and call out any misbehavior. Furthermore, structures must be established, and they govern the conduct of the team. Such measures will ensure that team moves from the conflict stage and start performing.
Adler, Paul., Heckscher, Charles., and Prusak, Laurence. “Building a Collaborative Enterprise: Four Keys to creating a culture of trust and teamwork.” Harvard Business review (2011)
Bonebright, Denise A. “40 years of storming: a historical review of Tuckman’s model of small group development.” Human Resource Development International 13.1 (2010): 111-120
Lee, Pauline, et al. “Leadership and trust: Their effect on knowledge sharing and team performance.” Management learning 41.4 (2010): 473-491.