The Bowmar Builders are an FLL team associated with Bowmar Elementary School. The purpose of this blog is to help other students interested in robotics to learn from what we have learned. As an FLL Robotics team we use the Lego EV3 robotics system and the Mindstorms graphical programming language.

Monday, October 10, 2016

System for Managing Team Development

By Aaron Byrd

One of the key systems any team needs is to help the team members develop and understanding of the FLL Core Values, as well as individual team core values if you pick some. There are two areas that teams and coaches often need help in. The first is having an understanding of the team development process and the second is team members showing respect for each other.

The first dynamic a coach and/or team captain needs to understand is the stages of team development. A good framework for this was created by Bruce Tuckman in 1965. Tuckman's model has the team going through four primary stages:

  • Forming
  • Storming
  • Norming
  • Performing

  • Understanding and being able to recognize these stages is extremely helpful if you also have a framework for what to do in these stages. The Boy Scouts of America have a great framework called the "Leading EDGE" that helps us as leaders know what to do. (Here is a good presentation on it.)

    Briefly, the forming stage occurs whenever team members are added or subtracted. It conceptually covers an in or out process. Unless you are losing people, it is a high-energy time when folks are excited. The leadership style best suited to this time is one where a lot of Explaining happens (the first E in EDGE). Spend time explaining how the team will work, what the team goals are, what communication process you'll use, etc.

    The storming stage is harder to manage as it is characterized by uncertainty in roles and details about what need to happen. Team members enthusiasm starts to drop. The leadership style best suited to this situation is a "Demonstrating" style (D in EDGE). Leaders are actively assigning roles, and helping folks see and understand how to behave and relate to one another by setting the example. The team enthusiasm is usually lowest as the storming process drags on. An effective leader will be watchful for low motivation and/or team members seeking an exit from the team and work to lift and keep spirits high.

    The norming stage is where team starts to come together and begins to put the individual parts together into a functioning whole. The norming stage is where folks have accepted the team roles and begin the function in their roles. They are not proficient at first but with practice and "Guiding" (D in EDGE) from the team leader they will become more capable and more able to effectively function as a whole. The leader needs to focus on helping the team members become effective by focusing on the details of the processes they are in charge of. As they see the team performing and accomplishing tasks together their enthusiasm will rise.

    The fourth stage is performing. This is the stage that is most enjoyable. The team is clicking and able to function well together. Spirits are high and folks are performing at their best. At this stage the leaders simply "Enable" (last E in EDGE) the team to keep performing - make sure resources are in place and upcoming needs are taken care of.

    The system for managing a team is really to observe the team for these dynamics - how well are they functioning together, how is their enthusiasm level, and then understand how to modify your leadership style for the situation. By understanding the stages of team development and the appropriate leadership style you'll be able to manage the process of getting the team to the performing stage where they are living the core have "have fun!"

    No comments:

    Post a Comment