Team Processes and Procedures

Every new managing will get to really enjoy their time in the next phase of the Tuckman Model for team development, storming. I have spent time with many new managers and they always say that they are not looking forward to repeating the storming aspect of team development. Their experiences have taught them that it is ugly and sometimes difficult to move through. Personally, I find this particular phase a challenge and helpful in making sure that I have focused the team in the right places.

What is Storming really? This is the time where competition and conflict start to surface. Each person is starting to feel out their individuality and inserting their influence on subject matter. May get to see the resistance to tasks or processes. Lastly, depending on the size of your team, you could start to see subgroups or polarization form. Since you are the new manager – I would bet that you are the cause of this happen at the time you joined. Same thing will happen as soon as a new member joins. The time spent in storming is really all about how the roles and responsibilities are set up. What should you have?

  • Assigned duties. If you have set up your SMART team goals, work tasks are assigned! What about the other tasks? Do you have a coverage model for when you or your team are out of the office? Do you have meetings? Do you have assigned meeting duties? Should you? Taking any of the guess work out of the team on who is doing what, when will help get out of storming quickly.
  • Cross training. Does you team have knowledge of other’s jobs? The more that each one knows the better it is for helping each other out, rather than point the fingers. Should this all be documented? Would be extremely helpful for reminders and for any new members coming in.
  • Documented processes. Not the job documented processes, but the ones that they team has for each other. Getting back the discretionary items. If you set up a schedule for coverage or meetings… Writing it down, sharing it with the team makes it clear.
  • Documented procedures. As a manger – do you have a set of pet peeves or rules that you like to work within with your team? Most new managers are feeling that out. Over the years, I have developed a simple list of team procedures that I use – and work with the team to refine to get commitment moving forward.

Storming can be fun! Especially if you work as a team to go through the team processes and procedures. There should not be too many questions that come up that can not be handled from your basic team roles, processes and procedures. The goal is to get to Norming!

Norming is that area where the team is working with cohesion and alignment. Roles are well established and practiced as witnessed by an increase in trust and communication. Listen for “WE-ness.” What really helps here is taking all of the work in forming/storming and adding a deeper understand. Focus on problem solving, like identify problems and working through them together. As a new manager, you have to be willing to let go when the time is in norming. That does not mean ignore. It means that you are still in it, but on the outside with the team. Communication should flow – but not just through you. Having a tool in place for each member to track their performance or at least know what is happening goes a long way to moving forward (that will be coming in the monitoring team performance post in a few days).

The last stage of the Tuckman model is Performing. As a new manager – you want to strive to get your team to this stage. Why? Goal achievement is consistant with each member focusing on high task output. The team starts to put the emphasis on their performance and production. The team sees you, manager, as just another member of the team. Trust is a big component in performing. Trust in each other to do what is right for the good of making the results be the best that they can be.

So, where is your team today? Do you have the basics in place? Are you updating them?