KARAMAH’s family law attorney, Julia Bizer, led our LLSP class in today’s lecture called “Effective Organizational Leadership.” Ms. Bizer laid out the foundational concepts of leadership and teamwork by distinguishing a team from a group. A team strives to achieve performance objectives, not just certain ends, and each team member has a clear role and responsibilities. Moreover, a team’s performance is interdependent, and members share a common leadership and a common fate. She also listed some necessary elements of successful teamwork: mutual trust, a focused mission, training for team members, efficient delegation and resolution of team conflict.
Next, Ms. Bizer walked the class through the Tuckman model of the five stages of group development. The forming stage is where the team is being first created, where a leader should focus on general acceptance and avoidance of conflict. The storming stage is where the team confronts friction, and a leader should concentrate on addressing the real issues, as well as set the rules for conflict prevention. The norming stage involves the rules of engagement, which takes hard work to reach because it is the phase where the team dynamic has been normalized. The performing stage is when group loyalty has been achieved and when the moral is high. Finally, the adjourning phase is when the task is completed.
Ms. Bizer explained why some teams fail, and later walked the class through on how to successfully build a team. While teams can fail for any of the following reasons: a lack of trust, a lack of direction, a lack of communication, an unclear mission, favoritism, bad followership, and personal animosity among team members, the participants also added some of their own ideas and experiences for why teams fail. Ms. Bizer recommended the rocket model as a basis to build a harmonious and efficient team because it accelerates and streamlines the process-driven team building stages as laid out by the Tuckman model. The rocket model places Tuckman’s forming phase of teamwork at the very bottom of the rocket, where the building of a mission and the recruiting of good talent serve as the foundation for a strong team. In the storming phase, the organizational culture is established and the team members accept the leader’s vision. In the norming phase, the leaders delegates power, resources and responsibilities to the team, while maintaining team cohesion by boosting morale and resolving conflict. Following this rocket model leads to successful performance and delivers results.
Ms. Bizer concluded the class by sharing essential tips for good team building, such as that planning and preparation are crucial and that improvement takes time and persistence; moreover, we must be deliberate when on-boarding new members and we must look for and fix common reasons for team failure. The LLSP participants then used what they had learned from the lecture to give solutions for their own stated examples for why teams can fail. Today’s lecture was the first time our LLSP class participated in a class about teamwork, as opposed to just leadership, and gained practical information on how to cooperate with others.