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Teams Are A Good Thing, Right?

I mean, two heads are better than one, so the wisdom goes, so it must follow that more than two heads, three, four or more must be a good thing. It stands to reason, doesn’t it?

Well, definitely, perhaps, or perhaps not.

We are all familiar with the experience of working with good teams where everything seems to be easy, disagreements and differences are easily managed, and the job gets done. But at the same time, we are also familiar with those teams where the going was always bumpy, where achieving a task was similar to pushing treacle up hill and where people were reluctant or even scared to express their opinions and feelings openly.

There’s a dangerous and common assumption amongst some managers that throwing a bunch of individuals together makes them a team. Wrong. Creating a team is not some easy or magical process. It needs to be worked at and the various stages – forming, storming, norming etc., need to be recognised and paid attention to. What Tuckman outlined in 1964 might be a touch long in the tooth, but it still represents a useful reference point for team working.