They have learned to work together and have some momentum in the team process. Bruce Tuckman was a pioneer in group dynamics and developed the theory of team group development. For instance, a team sponsor will ensure that the team has the budget and the staff hours available to support the project. Healthy teams foster creativity – a critical component to a thriving organization.

group development stages

I first remember learning about Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Teams Development and model while a management trainee at a large company. I found it fascinating—because I instantly saw that this model applies to ANY groups—and relationships too. As a team manager, you can delegate your work without having to micromanage its completion.

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Disagreements occur because each team member has a unique viewpoint on how to address the difficulties that the entire team faces. Fully understanding everyone’s role and responsibilities allows the team to solve problems quickly. They also know who to reach out to for specific information or advice. Knowing each stage of development can help you create all-star teams that deliver amazing results.

  • But you learn to appreciate them for who they are and what they contribute to the team and project with their skills.
  • Write down every idea that is offered, no matter how ridiculous it sounds.
  • At this stage, the team is characterized by high enthusiasm and low productivity.
  • Prepare your team for each stage, and use tools like Lucidchart to outline their roles and responsibilities throughout the journey.
  • Teams that want to enter the performing stage should take the following action steps during the norming stage.
  • You may feel like you can skip the first or the last, but each stage has a purpose.

Teams that want to enter the performing stage should take the following action steps during the norming stage. By guiding your team through the stages of group development, you also reduce bottlenecks and other hold-ups that might be caused by poor group dynamics. Most people don’t like rules, but they are here to help remove any uncertainty and improve the quality of work. Without them, nobody knows what constitutes appropriate behavior in the workplace. As a leader, you should reinforce the purpose and mission to your team regularly. By doing so, you can ensure everything is going on the right track and provide support or guidance when necessary.

How To Optimize Your Calendar For This Stage

People tend to focus on practical details – who, what, when and where and work reasonably independently at this stage – while they learn where they and everyone else fits into the team. This stage is aptly named, as it is here that tensions first arise. Here, team members are starting to speak their minds and solidifying their places within the group, which means that power struggles may arise and cliques may form within the group. And, if team members don’t feel their responsibilities are clearly defined by this point, they may feel overwhelmed and stressed.

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Project Arrive

Additionally, some groups don’t experience all five stages, may experience stages multiple times, or may experience more than one stage at a time. Ultimately, undergoing the five stages of team development sets your team up for success. There will be a higher chance of realizing the project goals within the timelines set at the forming stage.

group development stages

Many groups celebrate their accomplishments with a party or ceremony. Often, group members leave a group experience with new or more developed skills that can be usefully applied in future group or individual contexts. Even groups that are relational rather than task focused can increase members’ interpersonal, listening, or empathetic skills or increase cultural knowledge and introduce new perspectives.

There can often be little team spirit and lots of personal attacks. Those team members who are conflict avoidance will often participate little in this phase due to its inherent nature. Conversely, those that are not conflict avoiding will often participate more during this stage than others.

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A high-functioning team does not happen effortlessly during the performance stage. The team members need to go through the forming, storming, and norming stage before getting to that level. Putting a group of talented people together does not guarantee success too. Every team should have a facilitator─a person who leads and guides meetings and discussions. (Sadly, not a perfect rhyme.) Once a project ends, the team disbands.

The main goal here is to keep the momentum going so that the project wraps up on time. Disagreements are unavoidable on teams, especially when each person on the team has a different perspective on how to approach the issues the team encounters. When you all work in the same location, it can be easier to hash out problems quickly. On a remote team, you need to be more thoughtful about the tools and the processes that you use to identify and deal with disagreements. Finally, share the project roadmap so the team can see the starting point, the proposed check-in points, and the end goal. This gives them insight into the bigger goal but also breaks down the timeline into smaller increments.

group development stages

Team development will have your team be as successful and as high performing as possible. Fellow for EnterpriseSupport company leaders with Fellow’s uniform meeting templates, collaborative one-on-one meetings, and feedback tools. ProductFeatures OverviewSee how high-performing teams are using Fellow to level-up their meeting and productivity habits.

At this stage, the team negotiates and makes decisions among themselves. At the end of the project, set up an online meeting where team members come together to discuss the entire project, from the successes to the frustrations. Ask them to prepare examples beforehand outlining what worked and what didn’t, and then give each person five minutes to share their thoughts.

For team members who do not like conflict, this is a difficult stage to go through, but this is also the point where real teamwork begins to develop. Team members start to settle into their individual roles and learn to put aside their differences and listen to opposing viewpoints in order to solve problems as a unit. However, without strong leadership, a team may struggle to survive the Storming stage and the entire project may be spent in conflict. During the performing stage teams become high performing teams. Teams collectively work to solve problems and get the job done without the need for outside supervision or unnecessary conflict. The team is focused, effective, and achieves extraordinary results.

At the performing stage, the group is functioning together as a cohesive unit. The team has a shared vision and can function without the leader’s interference. It’s here that the group has learned how to resolve conflicts when they arise, and if changes need to occur, they’re implemented well.

What Are The Five Stages Of Group Development?

They may be motivated but are usually relatively uninformed of the issues and objectives of the team. Team members are usually on their best behavior but very focused on themselves. Mature team members begin to model appropriate group development stages behavior even at this early phase. The meeting environment also plays an important role to model the initial behavior of each individual. Members attempt to become oriented to the tasks as well as to one another.

They keep the team in line with the goals but don’t overly interfere in the process. We put “future” here because the members are not united by the same aim just yet. At the moment, they don’t know their roles for the project well and heavily rely on the leader’s decisions. For your team to work collaboratively with few interruptions, they need tools that operate intuitively and will save them time. Find tools that don’t require hours of training and automate basic functions to get the job done.

group development stages

Of course, there will still be some habits or personalities that you may find others irritating. But you learn to appreciate them for who they are and what they contribute to the team and project with their skills. As a leader, your role is to remind your team members that conflicts are natural.

Check-in weekly with them so that you can monitor their work progress, clarify and eliminate any confusion they may have regarding their tasks or project. As new tasks emerge, the team may start having conflicts or disagreements again. But because the team has experience dealing with conflicts before, all of you will be better at managing them this time. The five stages of group development are critical because it ensures that all the team members are working together to achieve the project’s goal. The emphasis is on building a team that will flourish and helps the organization to achieve long-term success.

It’s not a hard and fast – they go through Stage 1, then Stage 2. It’s more to be aware of these phases and use them to inform your leadership or coaching (and for self-management too!). Use this model to establish where you are in the development stages, and decide what steps you personally want to take to help the team move towards performing. Feedback is critical to improving your team’s performance while navigating through the five stages. In this regard, consider ending each meeting with constructive and insightful feedback to enhance the group process. Encouraging the notion that feedback should be given after every meeting makes it easier for team members to air their views.

How Can You Help Your Team Advance In Their Development?

They try to conform to norms because they want to maintain their relationships in the team and they want to meet team expectations. Teams with strong performance norms and high cohesiveness are high performing. In the performing stage, consensus and cooperation have been well-established and the team is mature, organized, and well-functioning. There is a clear and stable structure, and members are committed to the team’s mission.


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