The Four Stages of Team Development

You realise your new team is a group of individuals who collaborate to achieve a common goal, right?

The reality is, it takes time for a group of strangers to gel into a cohesive unit.

Your team members must get to know one another, form relationships, and learn how to work together and contribute to the team.

Consider this: Each team develops their own culture, conventions, and dynamics. It’s unrealistic to expect your team to master these skills in a single day. Along the way, there will be hiccups, challenges, and experimentation.

So, how do teams come together?

What are the steps in the formation of a team?

And how can you, as their manager, assist your team in moving faster through the stages of development?

The team development model of Dr. Bruce Tuckman is a common framework for understanding how teams form.

Teams, according to Tuckman, progress through four stages of development: forming, storming, norming, and performing.

  • The formation stage is the first step for teams. Members are just starting to get to know one another and what they’ll be doing together.
  • The storming stage follows, which is characterised by conflict, competing ideas, and conflicting communication methods.
  • Norming is the third stage. Teams embrace a uniform set of team rules, roles, and conventions in this situation. They begin to learn how to collaborate and complete tasks.
  • When teams reach their peak performance, they are said to be performing.

As team manager, you should be aware of your team’s current stage of development, and modify your management strategy to help them progress to the next level.

Ask yourself…

“What has happened to my team?”

Examine the four stages of team development to see which stage your team most closely resembles.

“What stage are they at now?”

What can you do to assist them in moving forwards?

The key takeaways

Teams go through four stages of development, according to Dr. Bruce Tuckman: forming, storming, norming, and performing.

Managers should be aware of their team’s development stage so that they can modify their management strategies to help the team to progress.

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