The 4 stages of team development: storming or performing? Officevibe

This leads to increased return on investment, sustainability, and employee retention. As part of the Five Star Client Service program, we walk firms through the 7 keys to creating a Five Star Client Service culture. The principles are based on the same principles Five Star hotels and restaurants use to achieve high-quality service.

what are the four stages of team development

Your team members are taking themselves and each other seriously. They have moved beyond understanding differences to valuing them and leveraging individual strengths. At this point, leadership can shift among team members and is flexible to the situation at hand.

What are the stages of team development?

This is the ideal stage to set great team habits and deliver meaningful feedback so that everyone feels prepared to maximize their efficiency in stage four. Bruce Tuckman, jointly with Mary Ann Jensen, added the adjourning stage to describe the final stretch of a team’s work together. It includes both the last steps of completing the task and breaking up the team. For project-based teams that have been formed for a limited time period, this stage provides an opportunity to formally mark the end of the project. The team may decide to organize some sort of celebration or ceremony to acknowledge contributions and achievements before it disbands.

what are the four stages of team development

Track your team’s progress, you can be sure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. If the previous step “storming” is completed well and with minimal repercussions from any negative conflicts, the norming step will be a simple settling down of members and finding their groove. If “storming” is not done properly, however, “norming” can involve many team members checking out mentally or finding apathy for a project. As a leader, it’s important to remember that you do not need to solve every conflict as it arises.

Leadership from the Proverbs: Fear of the Lord

Your teams will soon learn that conflict is not to be feared, and that they have the tools to find a productive compromise. In this stage of group development, individual members are just getting to know each other and don’t have a group process yet. At this stage, the group isn’t very productive, as they’re still getting acclimated and figuring out the role that each person will play on the team.

They have accepted their position, they understand what’s expected of them, and can see how their position contributes to the completion of the project. Generally the forming stage has the team starting on whatever larger project that they have been assigned. It’s critical to vocalize to each member their expectations and their accomplishments at every opportunity during this early stage. This usually includes basic introductions, getting a “feel” for your team members and who will work together well, and identify potential early problems. As with any new situation, most people are on their best behavior.

Stage 4: Performing At Peak Productivity

Make time for watercooler chat in a way that works for everyone, so there are group topics that everyone can laugh over. At times, norming might feel like after-school-special group therapy, but as we discovered in a recent survey, professionalism can’t patch over a team’s underlying emotional connections. Teams that stay in Norming are constantly working out things like communication preferences, recognition of achievements, and workflows. A deadline is missed, a launch doesn’t go as planned, or maybe it’s just that the workloads are heavy and it’s been too long since the last long weekend.

what are the four stages of team development

The initial “get-to-know-you” stage is over and now team members are starting to test boundaries. Their behavioral styles are becoming apparent as the niceties fade. As people start to understand their roles, they either settle in or maneuver for more influence. Some teams move through this stage quickly, some never leave it. However, this stage is necessary as teams can only be successful if they are truthful.


However, they may also be uncertain about their role in the team and what is expected of them. The five steps provide an organized framework for how teams can work together more effectively. By having this structure in place, it becomes easier for teams to follow processes and ensure that tasks are completed on time and within budget. Whether you identify as a team member or a team leader, understanding each of these roles is critical for creating an effective team. The most effective team member is one that knows he or she needs to work with his or her team members, a good team leader will know all of this like the back of their hand.

S/he keeps them motivated through recognition and coaches and mentors them when required. Job enrichment is one important way of acquiring new skills and keeping team members motivated. Lencioni has described five dysfunctions of team, discussing why teams, even the best ones, often struggle.(24) The first dysfunction he describes is “absence of trust”.

High-Performing Teams

Like children, teams go through their developmental stages and can reach exciting milestones. This is also the stage in which group members test boundaries, create ground rules, and define organizational standards. In today’s corporate world, building efficient and effective teams is vital to the success of an organization. And conflict that did not exist in the beginning can appear along the way. Bruce Tuckman was a Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology at Ohio State University. In the mid-1960s, he introduced his model of the four stages of team development.

  • They stress that interaction is essential to both learning and satisfaction.
  • The goals are typically set with or at the suggestion of the coach.
  • Participating in the stages of team growth is vital in helping team members to learn about their roles and responsibilities.
  • In fact, disagreement is critical to effective team collaboration.
  • You’re not sure who is doing what, or how to break this epic project into smaller components.
  • When you can identify which development phase your teams are in, it’s much easier to provide exactly the direction they need so they feel more focused and connected.

With strong communication, engagement, and practices that allow you to track progress, you can make sure that your strategic plan functions as a compass to your destination. Learn what toxic productivity is, and read expert tips on how to beat overworking. Get work/life balance strategies for physical and mental health. Try the tool that helps teams around the world stay connected, productive, and inspired. The best thing a leader can do here is to empower team members to get everything they need to be the most productive and innovative as possible. Getting to the Norming stage takes a healthy dose of observation, identification, and action on things that are working (and not working).

How to help your team through the stages of group development

As you can see from the graphic below, at each stage the team experiences changes in level of trust, knowledge sharing, and ultimately their level of cohesiveness and effectiveness. Your role as a leader is different, but no less important through all four stages. The key what are the four stages of team development is understanding where your team is and providing the right kind of leadership at each stage. If you feel your team is stuck, share this information with them and ask them to self-diagnose where they think they are and what they need to do to move on to the next stage.

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