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Strengths and Team Development

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

We know how to work on a team. From our school years until our working years, we have experiences working on teams to accomplish assignments and projects. There were instances of disagreements and challenges; and also moments of fun and success working together.

Teams go through stages of development. Team development is a process of learning to work together ( The goal is to bring the team from being a group of individuals into one unit all working together to achieve the team’s goal. The most commonly used framework was developed by Bruce Tuckman in the mid-1960s. Here’s the summary of the five stages of team development according to him.

To get more insights on these stages of team development, one of the references you can visit is this article from MIT. You can also download an infographics from TeamHood.

Teams can move from Forming to Storming quickly, but sometimes they are stuck in Storming stage for longer months before they move to Norming stage. This is a critical stage for a Team Leader or Manager to step in and conduct coaching of the team. Take note that team’s development is not linear and there’s a possibility that a team moves back from Performing to Storming, for instance, or moves back to Forming when a new team member is introduced.

So, as a Team Leader or Manager, how would you be able to manage your team and achieve the Performing Stage? According to research, introducing Strengths-based development increases the awareness of each team member of their unique contributions to the team. It also increases each member’s understanding of how each behaves, feels and thinks, which lead to a decrease in false assumptions. There is actually a team that moved from Storming to Norming in 6 weeks and on to Performing within 3 months, 8 months ahead from the initial expectation of 11 months!

How are you going to apply Strengths-based development into your team’s development?

Introduce Strengths

Introduce to the team the Strengths-based development and the importance of building a strengths-based culture. Start with each member to name their strengths using CliftonStrengths from Gallup. Dr. Clifton and a group of researchers invented an assessment tool, now known as CliftonStrengths, to help millions of people discover their natural talents – what they do best. Based on more than five decades of research, they came up with 34 themes of talents. Each theme gives you a way to describe what you naturally do best, or what you might need help from others to accomplish (Gallup). To learn more about the importance of Strengths-based development, visit my post Why Strengths?

Name It, Claim It, Aim It

Throughout the team’s stages of development, incorporate the Name It, Claim It, Aim It approach (Gallup). Name It is for the team members to identify their talents and what these mean to them. Claim It is for them to appreciate the unique power and value each of them has. And lastly, Aim It is for the team members to invest in the development of their talents and use them to achieve the team’s goal. Embedding Strengths questions into your team meetings can foster team engagement, increasing collaboration and productivity.

Given your team’s goal, talk about how each member’s talents/strengths can contribute to achieve success.

Strengths-Based Partnership

Create partnerships within your team. It can be a group of two or three persons. You can strategically assign them based on their strengths to boost and encourage one another towards building a strengths-based culture in your team. The goal is for the members of the team to know further their individual strengths and be intentional on how they would be able to use their strengths in accomplishing tasks and work efficiently with each other.

The Best of Us

Understanding what each member’s unique contribution and what he/she do best can greatly increase the efficiency and productivity of the team. It also helps you as a Team Leader or Manager effectively assign tasks to each member of the team. This approach also gives you an insight of their needs for you to be able to come up with plans to increase team engagement which helps to boost the morale of the team.


The more the team members increase their awareness of each other in terms of their strengths, it builds up trust which is one of the key elements to transform the team into one unit all working together and supporting one another to achieve a common goal.

What makes a great team? They share a mission and purpose. Everyone on the team understands and appreciates that he or she is great at some things and not very good at others. Gallup

Needs a coach to guide you on applying these concepts to your team? Schedule a FREE appointment with me now!

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1 Comment

Mark Tan
Mark Tan
May 17, 2022

Soaring Strengths has helped me reflect on my leadership and also respond with action plans in improving myself to help our team achieve greater success.

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