A Leader's Role in Developing a Team

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 keep 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 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 limited to, 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.


Adair, J. (1973). Action-Centred Leadership. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Tuckman, Bruce W. (1965). Developmental Sequence in Small Groups. Psychological Bulletin 63.6 (1965): 384-399. Web.