Do you feel as if you're talking but no one is listening? Do you feel like you or your team is in a rut? Is there an undercurrent of discomfort or discord among the team members? If so, you're not alone. Challenges among personalities on teams is normal and simply a natural part of people working together. How you handle these challenges can make the difference in a team that is miserable and underperforming to one that is happy, fulfilled, and highly performing. Teams and teamwork are the foundation of our modern-day workplace. So avoiding people altogether is impossible. Therefore, developing and optimizing teams and individuals in those teams has been a primary focus for organizations and academics alike. Take this practical and popular example by Bruce Tuckman called Tuckman's Stages of Group Development. He believed that teams go through four distinct phases in their development, forming, storming, norming, and performing. Let's take a brief look at some of the characteristics of each stage. Forming. This is a fun phase where you come in, the team initially forms, goals and objectives are outlined. And the primary focus is on the individual and what they bring to the team, and less on the team itself. The next phase is storming. This is the most challenging stage for teams, but again, it's normal. Team members can actually question each other's motives, ethics, and opinions. This is where thinking in terms of personality types comes in helpful. It is vital that all members of the team are heard and can express their concerns during this phase, even if they're difficult, because it's the only way that teams with challenges can move to the next phase. Taking things less personally and opening up to others' opinions are key indicators that take your team when they're about to level up, just like this Pokemon video of a team working together, leveling up. Norming. Teams move from a them to us mentality. We're all coming together in a nice teamwork team. A big part of this feeling of togetherness comes from the challenges of the storming phase because you went through this together and you survived, and came out better for it. What was once a challenge serves as the foundation for a deeper level of trust. If this momentum can be harnessed and further refined, teams are often propelled to the next level, the best level, performing. Performing. These teams have mastered the art of science of balancing the hard and soft skills. Teams are motivated and can achieve levels of performance that is not possible under ordinary circumstances. So here's Tim Tebow at the University of Florida. He can't do it himself. He has to work with his team. The team has to work with him because together, they're better. Where do you find yourself or your team on this scale? Are you or your team still in the storming phase? That's rough. Are you caught in just mediocre performance? That rough, too. It's interesting to note that many teams never fully emerge from the storming phase, where disagreements and personality conflicts will actually immobilize the group dynamic, or if they do emerge from the storm, reach a low level of norming that really makes no one happy. This stress, if it lasts too long, will actually change the way people use their type preferences. They will flip to the other side until they find their steady state. This is where personality types, empathy, and the soft skills play a huge role, and those hard skills learned in school or the workplace take a backseat. So how do you get unstuck out of the rut and finally heard? One way to determine, that is, to determine your team type, what are the individuals in your team like? Is there a one person who seems to be an outlier, or are there too many of the same type, or is everyone different? Sometimes when someone seems weird or strange on a team, or they don't feel as if they fit in, they may be a type totally different from their other team members. But remember, diversity adds value. If you have everybody that's the same type, you'll get the same thing. You need another type's input. They add value. I know at work, I try to make sure that I've got a variety of team members that can add value. Otherwise, we're just going to get the same thing all of the time.