How to use the EDGE Technique to Lead Your Team

Did you know that organizations have a life cycle?  In this video, we’ll talk about what the stages of that life cycle are, and how you can adjust your leadership approach to successfully lead your team in every stage.

The Edge Technique for Teaching

In a previous post we talked about the EDGE technique as a great way to teach something effectively.   You start by Explaining the task, then Demonstrating it.  When they are ready to try, you Guide them through it step by step, and in the end you Enable them to perform the task successfully on their own.

EDGE is a great instructional technique, but it can also be used as a mental framework for leading a team.

Just like living organisms, organizations have a life cycle (See Team Development Model for a specific post abut this and an info-graphic).  For each stage of that life cycle, you can use the EDGE technique to determine how to lead it. (Source for the stages of team development is Dr. Bruce W. Tuckman’s paper, Developmental Sequence in Small Groups)

Stages of Team Development – Using the EDGE Technique

Forming.  It all starts with Forming.  When teams first come together, people often come with a sense of excitement, anticipation.  Their expectations are running high, though they also may be feeling a little anxiety about how they will fit in.

In the Forming Stage, you need to Explain.  Even though their enthusiasm is high, but skill level is low, you need to talk about the vision and goals of the group, team structure, and try to set expectations and standards of performance within the group – “This is how we do stuff.”

Storming.  The next stage is Storming.   This is when conflicts arise about what should be done and how the team should go about doing it.  People are sorting out their roles on the team.

For teams that are storming, you need to Demonstrate.  Because of conflict, Enthusiasm is falling, but group skills are only just starting to grow – the more you can show the team how things work and how to accomplish the tasks they are faced with, the sooner they will understand and be able to get through this stage.

Norming.  By the third stage, Norming, these conflicts are largely worked out, systems are put into place, people understand their roles within the group.  Now they are ready to shift their focus to getting the job done.

For teams that are Norming, you become the Guide.  The Skill level of the group is growing steadily and with it, enthusiasm is rising, too, but they still need someone to keep them pointed in the right direction.

Performing.  In the final stage, Performing, confidence grows as the team is able to work together to get the job done.

In a team that is performing, you Enable.  By now the team has both high enthusiasm and also a high skill level.  Now that they know what to do and how to do it, you can focus on making sure the team has the resources and support it needs to be successful.

Using EDGE Technique to Lead – The Takeaway

When you think of your team in terms of the stages of Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing, then it’s easy to apply the four steps of the Edge process to determine the leadership approach that will be the most helpful to you.

When they are forming – Explain; As they start to Storm, Demonstrate – show them the way; when they begin to Norm, Guide their actions; and as they start Performing, focus on Enabling them to get the job done.

I hope this helps!  Thanks for watching, and all the best to you on your leadership journey.

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About the Author: Ken Downer
Ken Downer - Founder RapidStart Leadership

Ken served for 26 years in the Infantry, retiring as a Colonel.  From leading patrols in the Korean DMZ, to parachuting into the jungles of Panama, to commanding a remote outpost on the Iran-Iraq border, he has learned a lot about leadership, and has a passion for sharing that knowledge with others.  Look for his weekly posts, check out his online courses, subscribe below, or simply connect, he loves to talk about this stuff.

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