Environment there are now pervasive signs that the group is collectively working and striving to reach its goal

There are now pervasive signs that the group is collectively working and striving to reach its goal. “Community” shouldn’t be misinterpreted to mean that everything is rosy. All teams have and need conflict, and if there isn’t conflict then it’s probably being avoided, which isn’t healthy either. However, unlike in earlier stages when conflict was strained and could’ve torn the group apart, it’s now viewed differently as something that can be logically addressed, discussed, and worked through.

A true team now exists between the members. There’s a real team culture of inter-reliance, respect, and trust between members, and the team is largely self-directing and holding itself and its members accountable. Community can sometimes be too strong, resulting in cliques or groupthink. Both of these defeat the benefit of team.

The leader needs to remain active with the team, but more as a consultant rather than decision-maker, arbitrator, or facilitator. The leader should exhibit trust in the team’s ability to self-manage and self-direct itself, even if he or she thinks the team is making a mistake. As long as the potential mistake is an acceptable risk, it’s better to let the team handle the situation. If the leader senses that cliques or groupthink is occurring, he or she may need to interject some new personnel or other changes into the group, even though that will temporarily cause the team to regress. Groupthink can also occur when members are hesitant about openly questioning another’s opinion or idea, which is why conflict should not be avoided.

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