Newly formed teams go through a forming stage, as members begin building relationships and figuring out the rules of the group, and a storming phase, as members test each other and figure out how to interact.
The team dynamics that emerge in these initial phases can cause a team to succeed or fail. You can use four general strategies to mentor a team through these phases:
- clarify the team’s mission,
- identify needed resources,
- develop an action plan as a group, and
- encourage shared responsibility.
Clarify the team’s mission
As team mentor, your first strategy for exerting a positive influence on team dynamics is to meet with the entire team to clarify the team’s mission. This is your chance to clear up any confusion on the mission and its importance. It’s also an opportunity to make sure team members understand the mission’s relevance to organizational goals. When first meeting your team, you should do the following:
- Encourage questions — Encouraging questions clears confusion or conflicting information. You should also ask team members for input. By the end of the meeting, your mission will be crystal clear.
- Emphasize management commitment — You need to ensure that your team members understand how important their mission is to members of management. They need to know that their individual contributions would be valued. You should also emphasize the importance of working together as a team.
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