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TEAM COHESION

Madan Kandara - Sunday, April 22, 2012
(STAGES IN DEVELOPMENT OF A CHAMPIONS TEAM)

Team cohesion is very dynamic process and keep on showing constant movement hence, is also called as team dynamics. In this process, a group of people with lot of diversity in their character and background are striving to achieve a perceived or stated goal. The group (team) reflects a tendency to stick together and remain united in the pursuit of goals and objectives.
It can be best exemplified by a quick look at the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket teams, which started recently and English Premier League (EPL) Football (Soccer), which has been there for long time.
Dynamism & conflicts can be seen out in the open in several IPL teams almost every time during the matches. There is no prize for guessing that, coaching staff have tough task binding these diverse groups of people together and have field day not only on match day but, through whole duration of the player’s togetherness and beyond.
The process itself doesn’t come easily and every team has to harness through several stages. There are several stages and each stage have to be understood by every player as well as whole coaching unit. For example in context of cricket, it is not only the head coach who have to understand and recognize these stages but, also batting, bowling and fielding coaches, Add to that physiotherapist, nutritionist, psychologist and media managers etc. All are part of the team unit and hence, the process also.
So what are these stages? These stages are:
A)FORMING, B)STORMING, C)NORMING& D) PERFORMING.
FORMING begins as soon as the group of players comes together for first time. Team members during this phase show a lot of energy and positive belief. The excitement and anticipation of greater accomplishment is often on display.
During STORMING phase, team members start getting to know each other; Players have spirit of give and take and are willing to work with each other. During this stage some conflicts are seen and actually is part of process to understand the intricacies of game and personalities.
NORMING: during this stage, players start showing signs of maturity as member of team. Players fully know and understand their roles and responsibilities. Often they show some understanding in each other’s role and ready to do sacrifices for the cause & team.
When PERFORMING, members fully trust and have confidence in each other. Everyone plays their role and makes significant contribution.
These stages do not have a fixed duration. Cohesion does not last forever. For example: A new players replacing injured players needs some time to gel-in the team and injured players returning back may find a few new members and are themselves have to go through all the stages.
There are some team building principles. When a team acts upon them, it helps a team to mature for performance. For example, when arriving at ‘storming phase’ try to go quickly to ‘norming phase’ and then on to performing phases.
More on the team building principles next time.