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What is Team Development and its 5 Stages Explained

After a project is over or if a team is disbanded, team members who worked together will go into a small mourning period. Group members may have a hard time working with other groups as they had strong group dynamics with their previous team. This is the stage when things begin to settle down as your team finds their groove. As they grow more comfortable working together, team members are more comfortable asking for help completing a task or getting constructive feedback.

stages of team development

Team members refocus on established team groundrules and practices and return their focus to the team’s tasks. Teams may begin to develop their own language (nicknames) or inside jokes. “Resolved disagreements and personality clashes result in greater intimacy, and a spirit of co-operation emerges.”[4] This happens when the team is aware of competition and they share a common goal. In this stage, all team members take responsibility and have the ambition to work for the success of the team’s goals. They start tolerating the whims and fancies of the other team members.

The Secret Recipe to Building High Performing Teams

At this point, teammates have built up enough trust to feel safe sharing honest opinions with the others. In terms of the dating metaphor, this stage is akin to a couple’s first fight, a disagreement over something silly like a comment over a movie or a mess in the sink. Though a team leader’s first instinct may be to play peacekeeper and sidestep an argument, navigating conflict resolution is an essential step in a team’s growth.

stages of team development

Members attempt to become oriented to the tasks as well as to one another. To grow from this stage to the next, each member must relinquish the comfort of non-threatening topics and risk the possibility of conflict. While most teams progress through the stages of the Tuckman model of team development in a linear fashion, it is not inevitable. Without attentive leadership, well-designed processes, and teamwork, groups can become stuck in the earlier stages of the development process. A strong team leader is the backbone of every high-performing team.

Assign team member roles

In this stage, groups often become more comfortable asking for what they need in a productive manner and offering feedback on team and leadership performance. It’s important to remember that teams in the Norming stage may not yet have gotten everything right and still need guidance and consideration as they move towards becoming an effective team. It’s vital to stay alert to team dynamics and both individual and group performance – you may want to course correct or further strengthen certain aspects of how your team works together. Group reflection is an important part of improving on how you collectively and individually manage conflicts. In this exercise, you and your group proceed from reflecting on how you’ve managed conflicts in the past to develop a shared set of guidelines for managing conflict in your team.

At this stage, you might need to become more active than ever in making sure the team is still on the right path towards the achievement of its goals and objectives. Ensuring that the team doesn’t go back to the storming stage is one of your topmost roles as the team leader. These are some questions that run through the mind of team members during this forming stage. Usually, the team leader and team member’ specific roles might not be well defined at this stage as members of the team are still to be completely organized. Just as one stair leads to another in a staircase, the successful completion of each stage in team development leads to the beginning of another stage. This is a concept that psychologist Bruce Tuckman came up with to properly understand the progress of various teams and the development of key contributors.

How Can Leaders Initiate Team Development?

Set reminders for yourself to check in with team members, or send calendar events so that making updates is always top of mind and getting done. The main goal here is to keep the momentum going so that the project wraps up on time. With remote teams, it’s easy to run on assumptions until you’re almost up against a deadline — and then you discover that you didn’t get the outcome you needed.

So, you host a meeting where your team can get to know one another, their work style, and the way they feel appreciated. As a result, you’ll establish yourself as a leader of a team rooted in transparency and trust while you communicate clear expectations and team principles. When your team learns more context about what’s required of them in this stage, they’ll feel more confident. You and your teammates trust each other enough to get a little creative and innovative, while still delivering top-notch work on time.

Storming — It’s inevitable, there’s going to be conflict

During the storming stage, team members encounter initial obstacles and master conflict resolution. This is one of the most crucial points for building trust and forming resilient relationships. In the adjourning stage, most of the team’s goals have been accomplished. The emphasis is on wrapping up final tasks and documenting the effort and results. As the work load is diminished, individual members may be reassigned to other teams, and the team disbands.

  • However, note that there are also some rare occasions where the team might not have completed its projects successfully and still move on to this stage.
  • Clarity as to what success looks like at each milestone will give your team a much-needed confidence boost.
  • Given these conflicting feelings, individual and team morale may rise or fall throughout the ending stage.
  • Even when a team is performing at a high standard, there are often opportunities for individual action and proactivity that can help maintain growth and keep everyone in a group happy.
  • You book 1-on-1 meetings with team members to learn about each of their experiences.

This is often especially crucial during the storming stage when frustrations and tensions start to rise. Outline how the team members will communicate if they need to ask questions, raise concerns, and report on their progress. Begin your efforts in the forming stage as you gather everyone together. The team members may also feel a renewed sense of commitment to their goals or project.

Stage #3: Norming

By including the team in this process, buy-in and follow through on these guidelines is improved while also giving space for effective reflection on previous conflicts. By gaining a better understanding of the 5 stages of team development, you should have the tools you need to help your team collaborate more efficiently and productively. Team organization is highest at the performing stage of team development. All the stages of team development begin with a single stage and that is the forming stage. When your team has grown through the stages of team development they establish a state of “flow”.

stages of team development

Accomplishments in team process or progress are measured and celebrated. As a group of individuals working together to achieve a common goal, a team can be compared with a living organism. A team is not something static – it continually grows and evolves, going through various development stages. The life cycle of a team can be compared to a human life cycle consisting of birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, maturity, and death. Most teams are comprised of people from different disciplines, backgrounds, and skill sets. Particularly when people with vastly different roles work together, expectations around needs, dependencies, and how to ask for help can be very different.

Common Characteristic of the Storming Stage

Forming – as the name suggests – refers to when the team is first formed. At this stage, team members are meeting for the first time, getting acquainted, organising responsibilities, and trying to find their place within the team. At this stage, therefore, the team’s projects have been completed successfully and its missions and goals successfully accomplished. Also, the team might invest in task management software to plan, organize, and manage the team’s tasks and activities. The performance level of the team is high and each member of the team strives to make his or her best contributions to the success of the team.

Only by discussing and working on those things together can you move forward and progress to the next stage of team development. To effectively move forward with team development, a group first needs restaurant app builder to understand their purpose and overall goals. Frustration or conflict can arise if the group doesn’t agree on or understand the reason for the team’s existence and how success will be measured.

Leadership strategies to facilitate successful team development

Norms result from the interaction of team members during the development process. Initially, during the forming and storming stages, norms focus on expectations for attendance and commitment. Later, during the norming and performing stages, norms focus on relationships and levels of performance.

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