Developing a productive and proficient team is important to every company and every project. It is an integral part of the business strategy and vision.
[For more on Developing Your Business Strategy, get my White Paper: What To Consider When Developing a Business Strategy.]
Understanding the stages of team development and how you can facilitate and even foster that development can make the process faster and easier. In today’s environment of mergers, changing roles and careers, mastering this process is more important now more then ever.
The best model for doing this that I’ve found is Tuckman’s Tool, a self-evaluation process to help facilitate group development by helping the team cooperate more effectively. The model is named after its developer, Bruce Tuckman, an educational psychologist, who developed it in 1965 based on his observations of group behavior in different settings.
In Tuckman’s Model, he outlines the different phases groups go through to grow as a team. The model initially consisted of four stages of group formation: forming, storming, norming and performing. Later, a fifth stage was added, called adjourning.
The 5 Phases of Team Development:
Phase I: Forming
This is the time when the team is being formed. Everyone is on their best behavior and getting to know each other, welcoming and polite but yet distant. Some team members are anxious because they don’t yet understand the work ahead and their role in it. Other team members are excited about the project ahead.
Phase II: Storming
This phase lives up to its name. It is the time in team development when conflicts occur and frustration sets in. The team descends into conflict while team members establish their positions. Team members tend to be more concerned with the impression they are making and being valued than they are about the project or end goal. Keep in mind that this is the phase in group development during which many teams fail.
Phase III: Norming
During this phase, the team members start to resolve their differences, appreciate each other’s strengths and respect the authority of the leader. Boundaries are finally set (sometimes torturously established). Now that the team members know each other better, they may socialise together and they are able to ask each other for help and provide each other with constructive feedback.
Motivation is high among the team members, and all team members are committed to the team mission.
Phase IV: Performing
This is the phase where the team is working well together and productive. Plenty of healthy conflict, of the type that does not damage the fabric of the relationships, is interspersed with fun and humour. Successes almost seem to create themselves. Team members are proud of the team and its accomplishments. They trust each other and support one another.
Phase V: Adjourning
This phase occurs when the team’s tasks are completed. It is important to celebrate the team’s positive achievements and to bring about closure to the team.
The Impact of Personality Styles On Team Development
To get the most out of this model, you first must identify the stage of development your team is at right now. Then you can use the specific strategies to move your team through to the next stage in the process.
By understanding the personality styles of each of the team members, you can also understand how they will react during each of the team development phases, allowing you, as the leader, to adjust accordingly.
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