Back in 1965 psychologist Bruce Tuckman defined the developmental sequence of small groups – Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. He used this to describe the path most teams follow on their way to high performance. Understanding the stages of team development is key to being able to guide your team or your company to high performance.
Stage 1 – Forming:
This is the beginning stage. Most team members are positive and polite. There may be some anxiety as they may not fully understand the path and responsibilities before them, others are simply excited.
Because the roles and responsibilities may not be clear in the beginning this stage requires a lot of hands on management. Taking the time to educate your team on their roles and goals will build the foundation for the future.
Stage 2 – Storming:
Storming often starts when team members begin to push against the boundaries established in the Forming stage. There may be conflict between working styles, jockeying for position, or just general pushback against actual or perceived authority.
Clear communication of roles, goals, and boundaries in this stage will help you move through it with as little stress and complication as possible.
Stage 3 – Norming:
Gradually the team will move to the Norming phase. They resolve their differences or learn how to work together. Trust has been built and you may even see relationships form outside of work. Many teams can stay in this stage for a long time, or even cycle back through Storming if there is turnover, re-orientation of goals, or new tasks. Focusing on building trust and bonds between teammates sets the stage for moving to the 4th stage.
Stage 4 – Performing:
When a team reaches the performing stage they are all working together at the apex of their ability. They can compensate for weaknesses in the team and use each others strengths for the benefit of the entire group. Processes are followed and hard work leads to consistent achievement of the goal. At this point, it feels easy to be a part of the team and they are able to work together to overcome obstacles.
Building a strong, goal oriented team takes time and commitment. It doesn’t happen overnight and many teams can find that they cycle back through stages they’ve recently completed as goals, processes, and personnel changes. However, you’ll find over time that it becomes easier for the team to progress through the stages back to Performing. As an entrepreneur, it’s paramount that you identify the different stages of team formation so that you are able to provide a great working environment for your team, and grow your business together!
#teambuilding #teamdynamics #coaching
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