Four A : Leading a Team

One of the most important roles of a leader is to lead and increase the performance of his team. Researchers have shown that the dynamics of teams go through comparable phases. The common themes of these phases can be summed up in Four A: awakening, antagonizing, assimilating, accomplishing.


This phase is the first and here individuals get to know one another. This period is characterized by the following:

  • Desire for acceptance
  • Serious issues avoided
  • Impressions being made
  • Individuals working independently

The leader of the group guides and directs his team which is dependent on him. The leader must be prepared to answer a lot of questions and provide a shared understanding of the team’s purpose. He must clear expectations about the roles and responsibilities of team members and set values and acceptable behaviors for working together.


After a team has formed, it goes through a challenging time characterized by team:

  • Addressing issues and beginning to solve problems
  • Opening up and challenging each other’s ideas and points of view
  • Spitting into factions
  • Competing for power and attention
  • Developing negative feelings such as confusion and low trust.

In this difficult phase, a leader needs to clarify the big picture and overall objectives. He is also required to restate the values, goals and objectives of the team. His communication skills are also important here, in providing constructive feedback and facilitating open and honest discussion.


During Assimilating, the team begins to positively assimilate with one another, characterized by the team:

  • Developing shared goals
  • Developing trust and respect
  • Giving up some of their own ideas and adopting those of others.

The leader of the team is required to reinforce the positive integration of the team. He should encourage the building of trust, the sharing of perspectives and also recognize the successes of the team.


In the final phase, the team begins accomplishing, and this phase is characterized by a few important elements:

  • Clear understanding of objectives and mutual plans
  • Open and trusting communication
  • Shared responsibility and working together for the success of the team’s goal
  • Respect and appreciation for one another
  • Positive feelings such as confidence and high morale.

The leader’s role becomes one of facilitation and enablement. It is important to recognize the team’s achievements and provide new challenges, opportunities for growth and learning.

Overall, leading a team means recognizing that it is not enough to simply get the tasks done well; it is also important to develop and maintain the group’s cohesion, harmony and unity. The role of the leader is to move the team through the different stages of development. This assumption also means that if the team regresses and goes back to an earlier stage, it is necessary to apply the leadership suitable for that circumstance. Ultimately, a good leader is one who achieves a high-performance team that has little need for their management.


  • Adam Riccoboni, Daniel Callaghan, The Art of Selling Yourself.
  • Ken Blanchard, Situational Leadership
  • Robert Tannenbaum, Warren Schmidt
  • Bruce Tuckman, Form, Storm, Norm, Perform.


Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it” (Dwight Eisenhower). Photo: Megan Jorgensen