5 Stages Of Team Development Explained

5 Stages Of Team Development Explained

Congratulations! You recently received a promotion to lead a new business division. In order for the business to continue to succeed, you and your new leadership team must solve a difficult dilemma.

It’s crucial to ascertain the level of development your team is in before you begin the project with them. Although it may be tempting to go in and start working on the issue right away, your progress will be sluggish, misguided, and irritating unless your team is in a position where it can be productive.

When it comes to team development, the Tuckman Model is very popular. This article will show you all about 5 stages of team development described in the model and tell you what to do in each.

First, Who is Tuckman?

Bruce Wayne Tuckman was born in 1938. He worked as a scientist, consultant and Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology at The Ohio State University. He conducted many researches into the theory of group dynamics and published his ‘Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing’ model in 1965. He and doctoral student Mary Ann Jense later added a fifth stage, Adjourning, in the 1970s.

Here are all the 5 stages of  Team Development

Tuckman model 5 stages of  Team Development

The first stage: Forming

This is the stage where the group is just established and the members are getting to know each other.

At this stage, members may not understand the overall purpose of the group as well as the specific responsibility of each person in the group.

The group may make decisions based on consensus and they rarely have sharp conflicts because people are still cautious with each other.

The general psychology at this stage is: Excited with new work/team/challenge; Be cautious in approaching or interact with other members; Observe people around; Position one’s self within the group structure.

What should leaders do at this time?

1. Facilitate communication

During this phase, there is a lot of uncertainty, and individuals are seeking authority and leadership. Team leaders should encourage social interactions between team members to help them get to know each other faster.

A good way to do this is include ice breaker exercises to add more structure to the process of team members and help them understand potential work styles.

At this period, it is essential that the introductions of each be facilitated by the team leaders, who should also highlight the qualifications and skills of each team member.

Also, team members should be provided with clear and detailed project information as well as the opportunity to organize their tasks.

2. Create the working agreements

Always collaborate with the team to develop your list of working agreements. It could be alluring to simply copy-paste an outdated working agreement contract or an example template, make a few minor adjustments, and call it good.

This, however, frequently results in parts of the working agreements not making sense to every team member. As a result, some team members frequently choose to ignore the document entirely because they believe it to be unrealistic.

3. Guide the team

In this stage, the team leader must perform his or her leadership role, because the other members have not yet positioned and clearly defined their roles in the group.

The team then moves on to the following stage, storming, when team members gradually get to know one another better through the process of collaboration.

The second stage: Storming

According to Forbes, The storming phase is the most challenging and important to go through. Conflict and rivalry are prevalent throughout this time as unique personalities start to develop.

Surprisingly, this uncomfortable stage is important for any team’s development. It’s here the polite veneer drops and members think a little more objectively, paying more attention to others’ ideas.

However, this is also a stage where, without intervention, teams can get stuck.

Due to the focus on ineffective tasks during this period, team performance may actually suffer. Members may not agree on the team’s objectives, and subgroups and cliques may develop around dominant individuals or points of consensus.

Members must work to overcome challenges, accept individual differences, and resolve disagreements on team responsibilities and objectives in order to go through this stage.

What should leaders do at this time?

1. Make a plan

Team leaders assist teams in this stage by putting a plan in place to control intra-team rivalry, facilitate communication, and ensure tasks are completed on schedule.

2. Make everything clear

According to Indeed, the team leader should clearly define roles and responsibilities to avoid team members being snowed under by the workload and ensure they respect the others’ boundaries.

The third stage : Norming

According to Lumen learning, when teams successfully pass through the storming phase, disagreements are settled and a level of unity appears.

They start to come to one another for advice and interact more. Team members collaborate more effectively and pay closer attention to one another’s ideas and thoughts.

The trust they have built allows them to refocus. The team’s peace is fragile, though, and if arguments resurface, storming may resume.

During this stage, agreement arises over the identity of the leader or leaders and the responsibilities of each member.

A sense of coherence and unity begins to emerge when interpersonal conflicts start to be resolved. As members start to work together and begin to concentrate on the team’s objectives, team performance improves at this stage.

Members relax and the team begins to normalize when it becomes clear that the storming phase is ineffective and that the collective aim is more important than individual concerns.

What should leaders do at this time?

Team members begin to overcome problems and become accustomed to functioning as a unit during the norming stage.

Have some regular check-ins.

To keep things on track, the team leader should check-in with the team members.

“Check-ins” are recurring single-prompt questions managers and team leads ask to increase engagement and gain proactive insights. The right mix of questions will help detect issues and examine the real-time health of their team between team and 1:1 meetings, effectively filling in all a manager’s blind spots, according to Strety.

Leaders should also find opportunity to offer leadership support when necessary.

The fourth stage: Performing stage

Now that consensus and cooperation have been firmly established, and the team is mature, fully structured, and functional at this point. Members are dedicated to the team’s objectives, and the structure is clear and solid.

Conflicts and issues still arise, but they are resolved positively. The group is concentrated on reaching its objectives and solving problems. They realize that they can accomplish more together than apart.

Since they see the overall goal, they are more likely to listen empathetically, in search of making a difference in the larger system.

According to Upwork, in this stage, personal and team productivity start to rise as momentum grows and everyone commits to the team’s objectives. If you want to boost productivity even more, this can be the ideal time to assess how your team works.

What should leaders do at this time?

Reward your team.

Even as you drive for increased production, you should make a point of rewarding the team by having faith in their skills, providing assistance with their strategies, and acknowledging their accomplishments.

The final stage: Adjourning stage

Also known as the “Mourning stage”, it’s the final stage of the team working together. Most teams will achieve the adjourning stage at some point, but not always. Some groups are explicitly created for one project that has an endpoint while others are ongoing.

The majority of the team’s objectives have been met as the meeting is coming to an end. The focus is on finishing off last-minute activities and recording the work and outcomes. Individual team members may be transferred to other teams as the workload decreases, leading to the team’s dissolution

Even teams that are built for a permanent project can go through this stage due to re-allocation or restructuring.

This stage often occurs at a time of uncertainty, especially for those that fear change or are unsure of what their next role will be in the company.

What should leaders do at this time?

1. Move on:

A leader should be supportive by helping their team members identify and prepare for their next step.

Be Agile and continue to learn as you go

Regardless of your direction, your teams will go through the five stages of team development; however, by knowing how to support them along the way, you can hasten their development.

Knowing which stage of development your teams are in makes it much simpler to give them the precise guidance they require to become more connected and focused.







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