The Leader’s Role in Creating and Maintaining a Peak Performing Team Culture – Part 2


Part 2

So your team is now at the Norming stage in Tuckman’s life cycle of a team model.

As mentioned in The Leaders Role in Creating and Maintaining a Peak Performing Team Culture – Part 1, you’ve done well in getting the team to this stage but as a business leader you need your team to be highly motivated and performing at it’s highest level.

This is the stage that the work for you as a leader really begins. During the Norming stage things settle into place. Relationships form and the culture starts to develop. But as a leader if you don’t work hard at this stage things will start to slow down until eventually your team starts to breakdown. Therefore this is the stage that you need to be creative, innovative and display huge amounts of energy.

The team needs structure, guidance and leadership. It is the time that you can add the key ‘ingredients’ to the team that enable it to becoming a peak performing team. It would have been pointless adding these in before when the team was going through ‘storming’ as they would have had little impact. Here are some of the key ingredients you can add:

  1. Direction – everybody’s nose needs to be pointing in the same direction so set your team a Vision for the future. The Vision guides every action and behaviour the team delivers and ensures the effort is united and the team aren’t pulling in separate directions.
  2. Structure – during the Storming stage you will have had the opportunity to identify who is good at what so you should now be able to identify clear roles and responsibilities. Without duplicating work I would recommend team roles and responsibilities overlap slightly so that nothing is lost between the cracks. This ‘mutual support’ that team members give each other also helps with cross training which enhances the teams capability and makes sure you have some cover if you lose a team member.
  3. Focus – Set clear SMART objectives that not only enable the team to move towards it’s vision but also develops the behaviour and skills of individual members of the team.
  4. Culture – keep working on developing an open and honest communication culture. Set up regular one to one discussions, create an environment in which feedback between colleagues is the norm, have regular team meetings in which feedback is delivered and encouraged, conduct 360 analysis, conduct ‘after action reviews’ etc.
  5. Performance – incentivise and reward high levels of performance and behaviour, encourage individuals and celebrate successes.
  6. Training – the best teams in the world train on the basics every day. Being an expert of the basics means that the actions and behaviours that are part of the job become second nature. This leaves space for the team to deal with pressure, adversity and the unexpected. Develop and train the individual using your Performance Management process and use it to help you with succession planning. Also train the team regularly to keep it fresh and help create a mind-set of learning to be even better. This links in to team building which can be done for 15 minutes at the beginning or end of a team meeting or for a longer period, offsite once or twice a year. This should also incorporate an element of FUN which undoubtedly helps build relationships.
  7. Leadership – every great team has great leadership. This can and should be supplied by you but can equally be built inside the team in different ways.

There are undoubtedly more ‘ingredients’ that you can add. These are my favourites and if you are disciplined and keep the momentum going there is every chance your team will become a Peak Performing team that delivers fantastic results.