The Five Stages of Team Development

The downside is that as we are Norming, we may fall into groupthink. So it’s important to put some mechanisms in place to avoid this. For example, in meetings, do we have someone who will play devil’s advocate and ask ‘what are we doing here?

team development stage

However, you can use certain signs and symptoms to help you decide when a team is ready to move on to the next stage. During this stage, team members will likely be polite and cooperative with one another. However, they may also be tentative and unsure of their role within the team.

Storming stage

They’ll look to you for guidance and support, and when you establish a trusting two-way conversation, you’ll pave the way towards their professional growth. When this happens, it’s important to take stock of what your team needs. You recognize this isn’t team development stage any one team member’s fault, but you want to make it right. The last thing you want to experience is team members who de-value one another or collectively fall behind. It’s up to you to provide clarity, ensure team alignment and employee motivation.

Sometimes your group may revert back to behavior from the storming stage. Sometimes there’s overlap between the storming and norming stage. And sometimes the storming stage seems to last for much longer than is necessary. Keep to the project’s timeline and keep referring to the organizational tools you’ve developed. During this stage, conflicts start to resolve, team members appreciate each other’s strengths, and respect for authority grows. Team members are also less dependent on the team leader to provide direction and make decisions—they start working together and helping each other to achieve the team’s goals.

Stage 5: The Adjourning Stage

This is a crucial point in team development where leaders can pinpoint bottlenecks, areas of improvement and couple them with team strengths to build forward momentum. Such a great reminder, although team development is neverending, these 5 stages seem to come at the best times for any team. Don’t forget that professional and personal development are ongoing processes.

team development stage

And its success or failure very much hinges on the knowledge and skill of its leadership. When leaders allow teams to form and develop with unrealistic expectations or too little oversight, bad things can happen. Conversely, when leaders recognize that every team needs some time and TLC to grow into a functional unit, good things tend to follow. Whether team members are transitioning out of their roles or into a different project, leaders can use the adjourning stage to gather feedback. Schedule team meetings every quarter or each time the group completes a major project. During these meetings, review the last weeks or months to celebrate team wins and take an honest look at what didn’t go to plan.

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Personality tests are one way that leaders can recognize employee motivations to build cohesive teams and improve corporate culture. By identifying personality differences early on, leaders can confront conflict proactively and with ease. As a team lead, it’s your goal to get your team to this stage as quickly as possible. The storming stage is the most difficult and critical stage to pass through. It is a period marked by conflict and competition as individual personalities emerge. Team performance may actually decrease in this stage because energy is put into unproductive activities.

  • Conversely, team development acquaints each member with the talents and roles of other members.
  • Otherwise, the group is likely to become mired in relationships and emotional issues and never progress to completing the actual task.
  • You come to realize that, by involving yourself, they’re burdened by an apprehension to speak up and would rather spend time rectifying the situation.
  • To grow from this stage to the next, each member must relinquish the comfort of non-threatening topics and risk the possibility of conflict.
  • A team is not something static – it continually grows and evolves, going through various development stages.
  • At the storming stage, members will start to feel comfortable around each other, share ideas, and learn how their colleagues operate in a team setting.

During this stage, teammates are excited to join the team and eager to begin new tasks and projects. At stage one, employees have high expectations for themselves and their colleagues. They are driven to succeed, which may cause some anxiety as they get to know their peers and settle into the team’s culture.

Tuckman’s stages of group development

It’s upon reaching this stage that a team can become high performing. Members will generally be excited about their work and find satisfaction in the results. They’ll also trust each other and interact with a high degree of openness. Best of all, teams at this stage will largely be able to manage themselves, resolve their own conflicts and act collectively, as a whole. You may even be able to turn over some of the day-to-day leadership to a team member. Using our tool, you and your employees can seamlessly work through the stages of team development through effective team meetings and one-on-ones, meaningful feedback, and progress tracking.

This is the stage where members are confident enough to fulfill their responsibilities without supervision. New leaders may be so enamored with cutting-edge technology, that they tend to forget the importance of mentoring according to an Inc. article. After each team member has been assigned a specific role, power equations come into play. This is the phase where team members are first introduced to each other. To run a great meeting, keep the team aligned, and the agenda short, specific, and action-oriented. Learn why it matters and how to communicate openly in our short, no-nonsense guide.

Team Development and Its Five Stages

This is the stage where team members begin to trust one another. Tuckman was not the only author who described a team development model. The most important task of a leader at the forming stage is to make a team out of separate individuals, creating a sense of camaraderie. Not knowing each other, people tend to work alone, and that might put future teamwork at risk.

team development stage

Being resilient, laying aside ego and working together will allow the team to meet the challenges and emerge stronger than when they started. Draw a simple four-stage diagram and ask each person to place a dot or sticky note next to the stage they think the team is at. The key to moving through this stage is to make things as simple as possible. Hopefully, your team’s purpose or desired outcome is understood by this point. Now it’s time to make sure everyone understands the incremental milestones on the way to your goal, and what their role is in helping the team get there.

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Forming typically lasts for a few weeks or months, and it’s important to make sure that team members are given the opportunity to get to know each other during this time. You can do this by organizing team-building activities, setting up regular check-ins, and providing opportunities for feedback. Like Tuckman’s model, these theories aim to enhance team performance. However, Tuckman’s seems to be more coherent and comprehensive, as it describes the process of team formation as a whole, while other theories focus on its specific aspects.