A Leader's Role in Developing a Team

A leader has an important role in developing the performance of their team. John Adair’s Action Centred Leadership model is an example of how they can achieve this. Good managers and leaders should have full command of the three main areas of the Action Centred Leadership model, and should be able to use each of the elements according to the situation. Being able to do all of these things and keeping the right balance, gets results, builds morale, improves quality, develops teams and productivity. This is ultimately the mark of a successful manager and leader. But there are other aspects also to consider when developing a team.

One way to help develop a team, particularly a struggling or newly established one, is to look at a model by Dr Bruce Tuckman to help you identify solutions to current issues. Tuckman published his Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing model (Group Formation Model) in 1965, adding a fifth stage, Adjourning, in the 1970s. This theory is an elegant explanation of team development and behaviour. Tuckman's model explains that as the team develops maturity, ability and as relationships establish, the leader can then change leadership style. Beginning with a directing style, moving through coaching, then participating, finishing delegating and almost detached. With your role as a leader in mind, we can use Tuckman’s model to help you grow an independent, confident and proactive team. There are suggested ‘actions’ for you to take, but these may not be suitable for everyone.

Using Tuckman’s natural process of team development, a leader can predict how their organisation may grow. This is not a certainty, and there may be circumstances that may cause a previous phase to reoccur. It is situational to the team and organisation. But by using this as a guide, one can utilise their leadership skills to devise a way of encouraging a prosperous working environment.


This section will aim to educate you on the different types of team, and how to lead and draw together people of different social or educational backgrounds to maximise workplace performance.

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PAEI Model

Dr Ichak Adizes' PAEI Model describes the traits and attributes that, when balanced, form a strong all-round manager or managerial team.  

This section will focus on the topic of leading and managing high-performing teams or team members through a number of techniques.

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High Performance Teams

Katzenbach and Smith (1993) investigated the driving forces behind the highest performing teams, concluding that high-performing teams operate in a very different way to less successful ones and their outputs are far higher than the sum of their parts. Using this research, along with other sources, this page discusses 10 key factors that can help you build a high-performing team.

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Five Dysfunctions of a Team - Patrick Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team outlines the root causes of politics and dysfunction that can exist within teams and the keys to overcoming them.

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Video: Developing High Performance Teams

In this short video, Ken Thompson discusses how to develop high performing teams over a short timescale using game-based learning techniques, alongside social and experiential learning methods. 

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Video: The Habits of High-Performing Teams

Leadership expert Ken Thompson describes the general habits of successful, high-performing teams and shares his information for leaders on how to develop a team in order to achieve maximum results from each individual and from the group as a whole. 

This section focusses on the aspects of teamwork and co-operation required to maintain a functional and high-performing team.

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The Johari Window

The Johari Window is a self-help tool derived by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham during the 1950s to help people to better understand their relationship with themselves and with others.

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Running Team Briefings

Team Briefings are used to outline the objectives of the team, assess past performance and discuss any possible queries the anyone may have. Find out more on running effective team briefings.

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The Leader-Member Exchange Theory

The Leader-Member Exchange Theory (LMX) is a process that explores how leaders and members develop relationships that can either contribute to growth or hinder personal development. The theory is divided into a three-step process which will be outlined here.

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The GRPI Model

Richard Beckhard’s GRPI model is an approach used to increase the effectiveness of team development and is a formula used for leading high-performance teams. It can also purposely serve for identifying potential causes of team dysfunction and raising awareness about performance issues within a team.

The four main aspects of this model are Goals, Roles, Processes and Interpersonal Relationships.


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Building Trust

How to build trust within the workplace. Discover the importance of trust in the workplace and methods that enable its conception and growth.

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Team Exercises

An outline of the importance of Team Exercises.

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The JD-R Model

Explore the Job Demands-Resources model, its core concepts and applications.

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Creating a Learning Team

How to create a learning team through environmental changes.

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Video: Build a Tower, Build a Team

Author, professor and fellow at Autodesk, Tom Wujec discusses research into a team building game known as the "marshmallow problem". The game involves building the tallest tower as possible using dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow - why do some groups excel, whilst others do not? And what are the implications for functional team development?

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Video: Building Trust

Trust is one of the most important factors in business and personal development - however, it is also one of the most misunderstood. Researcher in business psychology James Davis discusses trust - what it is, what it means, and its associated risks. He suggests that by nurturing three specific traits, you can encourage others to trust you and what you stand for. 

This section focusses on the idea of shared objectives in a workplace -  getting team members to commit to a number of mutual goals.

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Team Contracts

Team contracts: An overview of their uses and importance.

This section focusses on the allocation and co-ordination of work activities, including delegation and management of specific tasks suited to different team-members.

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Cog's Ladder - George Charrier

Understanding group behaviour formation and reinforcement through Cog's ladder.

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Managing Your Team's Workload

Understanding how workplace evolution and other factors impact on employees ability to manage their workloads. This article will explore the implications of such factors whilst offering potential solutions to arising issues from everyday causes to challenging sometimes detrimental factors. 

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Avoiding Micromanagement

How to avoid micromanaging your teams.

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Delegation and Empowerment

Delegation vs. Empowerment. When is one more appropriate than the other? Which is more suitable in specific scenarios?

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Delegation Principles

Delegation is one of the most important management skills. Good delegation saves you time, develops employees, grooms a successor, and motivates. Poor delegation will cause you frustration, de-motivate and confuse employees, and can ultimately cause a failure to achieve the task or purpose itself. 

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9 Steps to Successful Delegation

The 9 steps towards successful task delegation. Enabling you to develop your own delegative capabilities.

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Empowering Your Team

Empowering your team through task delegation and allocation of project leadership. Aiding them to become further motivated and feel a greater sense of job control.

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Multi-Skilling

Understanding the concept of Multi-Skilling and the benefits of having employees that are multi-skilled.

This section focusses on motivational theory and how to improve performance and drive across the group within the workplace.

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Identifying Team Member Strengths

Identifying team members individual strengths and utilising these strengths in each project to enable each member to excel and realise their true potential.

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Motivating Your Team

Exploring factors that play a role in team motivation. From specific motivational factors such as level of personal interest, to enabling successful motivation through goal setting. 

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Coaching Your Team

The benefits of team coaching, understanding the positive impacts that coaching has on employees and the organisation as a whole.

This section focusses on the processes of review and management of performance, and how to act to appraise high-performing individuals and teams.

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The Feedback Balance

The Feedback Balance, the potential impacts when balance is not achieved when giving feedback.

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Managing Team Expectations

Exploring how to manage team expectations, when to demonstrate expectations and how to maintain expectations.

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Talent Management

Tips for Acquiring, Developing and Maintaining Talent.

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Rewarding Your Team

The benefits of rewarding teams for their successes. 

This section will focus on how to deal with problems within a team, and how to handle conflict resolution scenarios and difficult conversations.

This section will focus on the topic of team dynamics and relationships within the workplace - how to utilise these to achieve maximal performance.

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Emotional Intelligence in Teams

Understanding emotional intelligence dynamics within teams.

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Building a Collaborative Environment

How to build and promote collaborative working environments within the workplace. This articles provides methods that enable the formulation of collaborative working environments.

This section focusses on the challenges of leading virtual and remote teams - a topical discussion in the 21st-century business.

This section contains additional resources to support the Leading Teams information available across this course.
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Building Teams Reading List

 A list of articles for further reading on the topic of building teams.

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Effective Recruitment

The fundamentals of effective recruitment and the recruitment process.

This section contains the end of course quiz - a test to review the progress and knowledge you gained.

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Leading Teams Quiz

An end of course quiz to assess all that you have learnt throughout this module in Leading Teams.