The lead dog in a sled team is literally the one that sets the direction and regulates the speed of the pack. Lead sled dogs were originally chosen for their size, brute strength and stamina…much like leaders in cavemen times. Contemporary sled dogs are chosen for their attitude, endurance, strength, speed, tough feet and appetites, and most importantly their desire to pull in harness and their abilities to run well within a team. Contemporary leaders require similar attributes: positive attitude, resilience, technical skill, willingness and ability to run well within a team.
The forming–storming–norming–performing model of group development was first proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965, who said that these phases are all necessary and inevitable in order for the team to grow, face up to challenges, tackle problems, find solutions, plan work, and deliver results.
It is an effective guide for leaders wishing to develop a team, improve team performance or understand their role in team achievements. By providing experiences that allow the team members to move through the stages of development a leader can be assured they will produce a unified team.
The underlying themes of trust and respect permeate this model and all models of team building. Without these two foundational pieces a group will not become a highly effective team.
Building trust is a leaders primary objective when developing high performing teams. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, The Neuroscience of Trust, scientist, author and speaker, Paul J Zak found that people employed at high trust companies reported 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives and 40% less burnout.
Leaders can develop trust by respectfully being interested in their teams long term goals, prioritising face to face communications and providing direct and regular feedback.
Learn more in episode 10 of Leadership on the run.