Team Development And Group Dynamics

April 26, 2021

Next, the team moves into the storming phase, where people push against the team’s framework that was established in the initial stage. The model also illustrates four main leadership and management styles, which a good leader can switch between, depending on the situation (i.e., the team’s maturity relating to a particular task, project or challenge). Below is an outline of the fifth stage, which Tuckman only added later after refining his theory. This has led to a lack in breadth of skills or knowledge in order to make decisions alone about complex issues. Hence a concerted group effort is needed which is why team development is crucial.

Tuckman’s theory provides a useful and simple way to think about how we humans interact in team situations. Firstly by illustrating that it’s normal for teams go through stages as they develop. Secondly, by highlighting the need to manage different aspects of team behaviour at each stage of that development. The beauty and usefulness of Tuckman’s model is perhaps in its simplicity.

Team Selection

The act of recognizing the completion of a goal and consciously moving on can be challenging for some. The first stage of group development is known as the forming stage. The forming stage represents a time where the group is just starting to come together and is characterized with anxiety and uncertainty. Members are cautious with their behavior, which is driven by the desire to be accepted by all members of the group. Conflict, controversy and personal opinions are avoided even though members are beginning to form impressions of each other and gain an understanding of what the group will do together.

  • Individuals test and establish their roles, pushing boundaries to find acceptable medians – this can be a highly turbulent and volatile stage.
  • The Adjourning phase is certainly very relevant to the people in the group and their well-being, but not to the main task of managing and developing a team, which is more central to the original four stages.
  • What’s more, a safe environment is needed so the team can deal with conflict without fear … remember conflict is a normal and essential part of team building.
  • Style refers to whether the group has a positive or optimistic outlook, whether it is supportive or antagonistic, whether it is serious or light-hearted.
  • The model also illustrates four main leadership and management styles, which a good leader can switch between, depending on the situation (i.e., the team’s maturity relating to a particular task, project or challenge).
  • Often they are not consciously aware but their behaviour shows that all is not well.

These authors go on to explain that there are two reasons of existence for any group; to have a goal to work towards and to fill the needs of every person to belong and be a part of something involving others. You might think that forming a group is simply about choosing to work with some of your friends. However, when you work together in a specific group activity your relationship during which stage in team formation with each other needs to become professional. Before this can be achieved, the group may go through certain stages. Consider whether Tuckman and Jensen’s suggestions below fit your own experience of group work. When commitment is present team members are likely to work toward the team goal. However, to gain commitment employees must know what to do and how to do it.

Team Stages

Team leaders can take a step back from the team at this stage as individual members take greater responsibility. It is one of the more known team development theories and has formed the basis of many further ideas since its conception. They affect the way we think, what we value and believe, how we feel and how we behave and they play an increasingly important role in the effective performance of organisations. We have seen an increasing move to the specialisation cloud deployment models of individuals. After a group has completed their task they must dissolve and disband from both the task and group members. Paul Hersey is a behavioral scientist, author and management expert best known for developing Situational Leadership theory with Ken Blanchard. He is professor of Leadership Studies at Nova Southeastern University and established the Center for Leadership Studies, which provides training and development in leadership, in the 1960s.

These authors suggest that team effectiveness increases as teams move through phases of team development, from a working group to a high-performance team as illustrated in Figure 4. When comparing Figures 3 and 4, you should note that Figure 3 shows the development of team performance over time, whereas Figure 4 show the development in a team’s performance in terms of their effectiveness.

An understanding of group dynamics can help you lead your team through from early stages of forming to be coming a high performing team. After refining the theory of stages of team development, Tuckman added a fifth stage to the model. Adjourning is relevant to the people in the group but not to the main task of managing and developing a team. It is the split between the group when the task is completed successfully. Tuckman’s model explains that as the team develops maturity and ability, relationships establish, and the leader changes leadership style.

during which stage in team formation

Next you will look at how these stages of team formation can be displayed as an S-curve. Wasting a lot of time with disagreements and difficulty in keeping focus on the task. Tuckman’s theory focuses on the way in which a team tackles a task from the initial formation of the team through to the completion of the project. Tuckman later added a fifth phase; Adjourning and Transforming to cover the finishing of a task. The team needs to focus on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationships and emotional issues. The leader must be prepared to answer lots of questions about the team’s purpose, objectives and external relationships.


One of the very useful aspects ofteam building activitiescontained within a short period of time is that teams have an opportunity to observe their behaviour within a measurable time frame. The aim of the leader or manager is, therefore, to develop the team through the four stages, and then to progress on to another role. The Adjourning phase is certainly very relevant to the people in the group and their well-being, but not to the main task of managing and developing a team, which is more central to the original four stages. The team can work towards achieving the goal and to attend to relationship, style and process issues along the way. There was another American Football example which was a Channel 4 programme on the preseason training camp of an NFL team . This was a 4 part series that clearly highlights the Forming, Storming and Norming Stages of the Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development.

There are two main perspectives on how a team is formed to become successful. Tuckman has a theory that there are four main stages to the development of a team or sporting group. Firstly the players come together to form a team, sharing the common identity with the same kit, club name or selection for a team. At this point social comparisons are made between new acquaintances. This is known as the forming stage in which all that is taken into account is the fact all of the players have been chosen to come together. The second part of the process includes friction between personalities, and often the leader of the group.

Many groups remain at the storming stage and find it difficult to achieve their goals. By this stage, the group should have reached a high degree of cohesion and trust, without which motivation is likely to be lower. Having developed a clear group identity and by each member recognising their roles, the group may become quite independent from the leader. Other group development definition members of the group might take on some of the leadership roles. Given time, many groups will pass through at least some of the Tuckman’s stages of group development. The Team Leader can initiate processes to help the team through stages of development. This can help the group to settle into high performance and successful team relations more quickly.

The Four Stages Of Team Building

However, whatever happens in your group, a constant awareness of these processes is a sensible approach. You must also remember that teams need building and developing if they are to remain effective and energised. The linear perspective of this can be applied to the formation of a professional sports team that has had its storming and performing very much in the public eye in recent years. In 2010 Manchester City football club added seven new players to the squad , all with believed high abilities to improve the squad. This then led to player Stephen Ireland leaving the club along with former talisman Robinho. This shows that it is not possible for all players to form together in a sporting team and that storming does often occur after this stage. The team then adjourned and had a break ready to build for the next season and start the whole process again.

real Life Team Development

These more predictable patterns of behaviour contribute to a feeling of safety amongst group members. Forming This is the early stage of getting to know other people in the group and of committing yourselves to the achievement of a task. The main managerial responsibility here is to create a good atmosphere where team members feel safe enough to take risks, providing adequate resources, providing confidence the task can be completed, etc. The DevOps Management guru Charles Handy once described the organisation of people akin to herding cats – difficult by design! As a result, there are few managers who escape the often tricky problem of managing people. Bruce Tuckman is a psychologist and Professor of Educational Psychology at The Ohio State University. He created and developed the 4 stages of group development after analysing the behaviour of small groups in a variety of environments.

It happens when one project is over and the team has to break up to pursue new goals and activities. stages of group development This team development model has several implications for those working on project teams.

If there has been great camaraderie and the team has produced great results, the team is likely to feel great sadness and loss at breaking up. Often successful teams once disbanded, keep in touch afterwards, and certainly feel a bond when meeting up in the future. Team members who like routine or who have developed close working relationships with other members of the team may find this stage difficult, particularly if their future own looks uncertain. It feels easy to be part of the team at this stage and people who join or leave won’t disrupt performance. Dr Bruce Tuckman’s work describes these stages asForming, Storming, Normingand Performing. When used intentionally, you can accelerate a new team’s development. As it forms, a team will move through several stages as it changes from being a collection of random people thrown together to a high performing unit.

Facilitating team development can be hard to do from the inside if you’re involved. Sometimes it’s useful to engage a facilitator to help with this. Bruce Tuckman was a psychologist who developed the theory of 5 stages of development in 1965, the model consisted of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing areas. Later he added a 5th stage, ‘Adjourning’ to the model in the 1970s. However at this stage they may challenge each other, and the team leader, about such things as what the team is doing, and how things should be done. As the stage title suggests, conflict and confrontation typify this stage, as differences surface. This may result in some loss of performance or focus on the task, as the diagram illustrates.

They are forming, storming, norming, performing, mourning and retiring. Given these conflicting feelings, individual and team morale may rise or fall throughout the ending stage. It is highly likely that at any given moment individuals on the team will be experiencing different emotions about the team’s ending. As the group members attempt to organize during which stage in team formation for the task, conflict inevitably results in their personal stages of team forming relations. Individuals have to bend and mold their feelings, ideas, attitudes, and beliefs to suit the group organization. Because of “fear of exposure” or “fear of failure,” there will be an increased desire for structural clarification and commitment.

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