Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing: How Teams Grow

The individual roles your team members play are incredibly important to team performance. These roles could be the official title they were hired to do, or the role they fit into naturally within the group dynamic. Psychologist Bruce Tuckman was the first to document the different phases that teams go through as they develop. In this article, we discuss the different stages of group development and how you can guide your team through them to optimize collaboration. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides information on health and nutrition for children over 5 years of age. Tips for parents – Ideas to help children maintain a healthy weight.

The principal work for the team during the Forming stage is to create a team with clear structure, goals, direction and roles so that members begin to build trust. During the Forming stage, much of the team’s energy is focused on defining the team so task accomplishment may be relatively low. Team effectiveness is enhanced by a team’s commitment to reflection and on-going evaluation. In addition to evaluating accomplishments in terms of meeting specific goals, for teams to be high-performing it is essential for them to understand their development as a team. Supervisors of the team during this phase are almost always participating. Even the most high-performing teams will revert to earlier stages in certain circumstances.

What are the 5 stages of group development?

Such issues can relate to things like the group’s tasks, individual roles, and responsibilities or even to the group members themselves. More dominant group members emerge while other, less confrontational members stay in the comfort and security of suppressing their feelings just as they did in the previous stage. Questions surrounding leadership, authority, rules, responsibilities, structure, evaluation criteria, and reward systems tend to arise during the storming stage.

During the Ending Stage, some team members may become less focussed on the team’s tasks and their productivity may drop. Alternatively, some team members may find focussing on the task at hand is an effective response to their sadness or sense of loss. At first, people are led by their natural desire to be liked by others and accepted among their peers. After all, when you have to cooperate with someone for a longer period, it’s easier to do it if you get along well — and that’s what the stages of group development get right every single time. To sum up, here’s a quick overview of the behaviors, feelings, group needs, and leadership needs in the Adjourning Stage.

Leadership from the Proverbs: Fear of the Lord

In any case, it’s the saddest of all the 5 stages of group development. Surprisingly, leadership coach Alexis Haselberger told me that spending lots of time in this stage is, actually, not an issue. Since the Storming Stage can be infused with power struggles, I sat down with a leadership coach, Alexis Haselberger, to dive deeper. She told me that we must do our best to name the problems and address them properly — especially at this point, where we risk getting stuck in this stage. The 3-month content project is mostly done, and everyone’s focus dissolves.

what are the four stages of group development

They have to write, edit, optimize, and publish 10 long-form articles on the topics that matter to the company’s bottom line. In the earlier stages of your team’s formation, establish a clear communication plan. A communication plan is an outline of how your team is going to communicate important information to key stakeholders. Clarity on the various avenues of communication allows team members to effectively get work done, understand their roles, and know where to find the information they need about work. Establishing a communication plan can help you do all of these things in a way that’s easy for your team to follow. How did you know what behaviors were acceptable or what level of performance was required?

More Resources on Team Development

That’s where Tuckman’s stages of group development yield immense results. In turn, the level of effectiveness reaches its peak in the Performing Stage, when team members use well-oiled workflows and communicate feedback effectively to make the project smooth sailing. Whether you’re building a new team or working on a specific project with cross-functional partners, it’s important to establish your team’s mission early on. Setting a goal, even before you start working together, establishes some ground rules to focus on and ensures that everyone is on the same page and moving towards the same goal.

  • Consequently, not all groups are able to move past the storming stage.
  • But it’s been around a long time and I believe it still serves as a good jumping-off point for the concept of seeing teams as organically evolving entities rather than “plug and play” machines.
  • They question established procedures and look for ways to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.
  • As a team leader, it’s your goal to support and empower your team to help get their highest-impact work done.
  • During the Ending Stage, some team members may become less focussed on the team’s tasks and their productivity may drop.
  • Solving problems face-to-face instead of over email or chat is a good investment right now because you’ll get a richer sense of who your teammates are as people.

You might still have to put out the occasional fire, but on high-performing teams, leaders can generally focus on monitoring progress, measuring results and celebrating achievements. Helpful tools include having the right technology and accurate metrics to measure team performance—as well as knowing how to throw a good party. When forming a team, leaders need to build trust, set expectations and encourage involvement.

Team Norms and Cohesiveness

Should a conflict ever arise, your team will also know what steps to take to get this conflict resolved. Strong communication skills are the backbone of conflict resolution. With a clear communication plan in place, your team will know how to discuss their issues with the rest of the team in a constructive manner. Boost motivation by helping your employees understand why their work matters. In this free ebook, learn how to create a shared sense of purpose on your team. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatryexternal icon
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has many fact sheets for parents on child and adolescent health and development.

It is not uncommon for leadership hierarchies to re-form or establish themselves, as individuals begin to challenge the directions or decisions of those initially taking charge. A leader’s role at this stage is to encourage cooperation, leverage the strengths of what are the four stages of group development each individual and, again, identify and resolve conflicts before they get out of hand. Encourage members to roll up their sleeves and work collaboratively. At this stage, having the skills to facilitate open dialogue and enforce accountability is critical.

Tips to create group norms for high-performance teams

Most high-performing teams go through five stages of team development. When a team reaches the performing stage, the team leader can trust that his or her team is ready for the challenges that they will be working on. This level of trust is shared between team members, and the relationship that has been built between each team member has a direct effect on productivity. 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.

what are the four stages of group development

The storming stage only really starts once the individuals in a team have had a chance to get to know each other a little. From a work perspective, this stage normally sees individuals working in their own ways, often on their own tasks. There is little sharing of ideas and approaches, or feedback in relation to performance.

Work & Life

Differences of opinion are treated respectfully, individual tasks are accomplished, and progress is made on group objectives. Unfortunately, many groups will get stuck in this stage (unable to arrive at the belief in their common abilities) – which detriments the ability for task accomplishment. The storming phase begins after groups establish to feel a sense of comfort and inclusion. The members generally begin by searching for some form of commonality in understanding, belief, values, or objective. Then they begin to identify barriers or boundaries for interaction.

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