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Are You A Teamplayer?

From 8am-4: 30pm, I work with people who are trying to get back into the workplace. One of the interview questions I constantly prepare clients for is, “Tell Me About Yourself.” This is one of the easiest and at the same time hardest questions ever. It’s easy because it’s asking about you! And who knows you better than you? At least that should be the case. It’s a hard question because not too many people know what to say, how much say, or even what to include. Those who know how to answer the question partially will simply give a laundry list of character/professional traits they believe they possess. I’ve been working with my clients on not giving the stock answers. I.e. “I’m dependable, reliable, and a team player.” Don’t get me wrong. These are admirable traits, but they mean nothing if the clients a) really don’t know what it really means or b) they just use it to sound good. One of the most popular traits clients tend to use is Team Player. My pondering leads me to, “Do people really understand what it means to be a Team Player? Do people even have a clue of what makes a team an actual team?” How a team is developed happens in 4 Crucial Stages; Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. It doesn’t matter where you go, who is on the team, sports or not, or in the church world or in the corporate world; you’ll find teams in these stages.

1. Forming: This is when teams are really in their infancy stage. The team is assembled. People are getting to know each other. Team members in this stage are also deciding who does what? Roles are established. Tasks, goals, and/or objectives are given as well. Also known as the “honeymoon” phase. How sweet.Leaders, share with your team what a “W”(wins or successes) looks like. Also, be intentional about this phase because this is where relationships are birthed.

2. Storming: Alright, honeymoon is over! This is when egos begin to emerge. Disagreements occur. Members may even begin to question their leader and go against what the leader has set out to get accomplished. Teams within the team, in other words dissension, often are formed here. Storms are never pretty.Leaders, do not ignore conflict. Set expectations as to how you all will deal with conflict. I love what Andy Stanley said about problems. He said, “it’s important to understand whether this is a problem to solve or a problem to manage.” Besides, just about every GREAT thing formed stemmed from some type of conflict. Embrace it.

3. Norming: THE STORM IS OVER! The ONLY way your team is able to make it out of the storm is when there is focus placed on CONFLICT RESOLUTION. Conflict is INEVITABLE. Conflict Resolution is INVALUABLE. The team in the norming phase is beginning to cook with grease. They have harmony, synergy, and cohesiveness. They are all clear on what each other’s role is and are becoming productive.Leaders, every stage listed here is a stage to be embraced, but this one particularly is important because here is where your team gets RHYTHM. You all are in the zone. Rejoice in it! Have fun!

4. Performing: If I had to sum up this stage in one word, it would probably be EXECUTION. At this point, the team has been solving problems in order to eliminate any barriers hindering them from achieving the tasks set out before them. They now play off each other’s strengths and allow each other to run their lanes.Leaders, this is a good place to be in. At this point, your team can now to be given room to be creative and operate within themselves.

3 interesting things about these stages are 1) Getting from Forming to Performing can look extremely sloppy and, in some cases, take very long. 2) Some teams don’t make it out of the storming phase. And 3) Just because your team experiences Performing, anything can take you all the way back to the Forming stage (new members of the team/organizational changes, new tasks, etc.).This blogpost should assist you in a couple ways; possibly giving you deeper insight to how a Team is developed, giving you some type of idea where your team or staff are currently, and as a leader, how to respond to these stages with your team. All this also to say, the term “Team Player” should be taken a lot more serious than just some stock response to “Tell me about yourself.” Feedback appreciated much.

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