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  3. 5 Stages of Team Development: Forming Teams

5 Stages of Team Development: Forming Teams

At this stage, the group isn’t very productive, as they’re still getting acclimated and figuring out the role that each person will play on the team. But when you first bring a group together , a foundation of trust hasn’t had time to develop. The storming phase is the second of the four stages of team development, a concept by psychologist Bruce Tuckman that outlines how teams grow and develop. In this stage, team members are creating new ways of doing and being together.

what is the storming stage of team development

At the end of the performing stage, the task assigned to the team will be completed. The storming phase may be quick or it may be incredibly long, depending on the complexity of the project. Since tensions may get high during this phase of the team, be prepared for there to be some arguing, hurt feelings and other conflicts amongst team members. Now that the teams know each other, it’s time to get brainstorming. This stage puts the team to the test and may cause a lot of tension if people vastly disagree. Be prepared to step in and help ease people’s anxieties about the project.

This stage can be the most satisfying and fulfilling stage in the lifecycle of a team. The team members have all learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses and can use this knowledge to everyone’s advantage. Every member of the team knows their role in the project and is able to complete their tasks efficiently. When a group of any kind first meets, it’s critical that things start off on the right foot.


This stage occurs when the team’s work is completed, and the team dissolves. The members may go their separate ways, or they may stay together to form a new team. In the third stage of team development, Norming, the team begins to gel. Members start to trust each other and feel like they are part of a unit. This is often when the team starts to produce its best work. Every team will go through these stages, but not all teams will reach the performing stage.

Team members may not like the work style of their new colleagues, challenge the emerging team norms and resist control. Managers must ensure that the team norms are discussed, accepted, and followed by each team member. Furthermore, at this stage, the team members don’t know whether they will be able to work well together and if they will fit in.

what is the storming stage of team development

Problems and conflicts still emerge, but they are dealt with constructively. The team is focused on problem solving and meeting team goals. 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.

Mourning because team members are paring after forging deep relationships during the project and celebration for a job well done. Renowned psychologist Bruce Tuckman created an easily-understood model in 1965. It illustrates how teams in different fields undergo five similar stages of group development. Understanding the stages of team development enables you to build successful and high-performing teams. While these four stages—forming, storming, norming, and performing—are distinct and generally sequential, they often blend into one another and even overlap.

Adjourning (or Mourning)

Remember that rules are created to help your team stay focused on what matters most─performance. Create a weekly work plan with tasks and share it with the team. Throwing a group of talented people together doesn’t mean that they will form a great team. Hoping that your company or project will be a success won’t make it happen. But, it is important to remember that most teams experience conflict.

They eventually agree on some team norms and find a way to collaborate. The team’s level of conflict and antagonism drops, and people become more constructive, supportive, and understanding. These are the signs to identify the transition into this stage. Sometimes also called the termination, mourning, or ending stage, most, if not all, of the goals of the team have been accomplished. The project as a whole is being wrapped up and final tasks and documentation are completed.

Tips for a team leader:

Team members should continue to deepen their knowledge and skills, including working to continuously improving team development. As the team begins to move towards its goals, members discover that the team can’t live up to all of their early excitement stages of team development team building and expectations. The performing stage of development is the ideal stage that teams strive for. This was originally the last stage in Tuckman’s model, but it really represents what your team should look like at the height of productivity.

Frequent and regular team retrospectives are great for discussing and resolving issues at this stage. When a new team forms, its members are unsure about its purpose and goals. The team managers must address that and focus on clarifying the team’s purpose and bringing every team member on the same page. As a team leader, it is your job to make sure everyone is seen and heard. This stage occurs when team members are adjusting to each other and settling into their roles on the project. There will be a lot less arguing and planning and more working with one another.

  • In this article, we will discuss how to make Slack less distracting and more productive.
  • Tuckman’s foundation helps team leaders understand how team dynamics change as a project progresses.
  • It is important to instill this sense of responsibility in a group.
  • Navigating through the five stages of group development isn’t a walk in the park.
  • The best groups have an innate understanding of their processes and structure, but that innate understanding only comes after the processes and structure have been articulated.
  • To facilitate this group development, leaders should continue to give constructive feedback and support, and make collaboration as easy as possible.

Teams usually develop norms that guide the activities of team members. Team norms set a standard for behavior, attitude, and performance that all team members are expected to follow. Instead of letting team members battle it out in private messages select the best solution, be ready to invite them into a chat room to offer advice or ask some key questions.

Drive continuous feedback

The choice of the stages’ names was not random – the endings form a pattern, as Tuckman tried to make the stages easy to recall. Do not leave people with a feeling their work was taken was granted. Coach team members to stand up for their ideas in a healthy manner – which is, calm and immediate. Pay special attention to those who do not feel secure or confident enough to speak up. Make sure all the tasks have been completed and every goal has been reached. It is also a great time to reflect on your past mistakes and celebrate achievements.

what is the storming stage of team development

With increased group cohesion, members enjoy being part of the team and working together. An increased willingness to share ideas or ask teammates for help is common at this stage. Number three on Tuckman’s model of group development is the norming stage. It is at this stage that all the team members gradually start to work together effectively. At this stage, members begin to trust each other, establish harmony and accept each other’s opinions despite their differences. The most important task of a leader at the forming stage is to make a team out of separate individuals, creating a sense of camaraderie.

At the Performing Stage, managers can expect the team to start delivering predictable results and meeting deadlines. They can delegate more responsibilities to the team and focus on more strategic work. Storming starts when conflicts and competition emerge in the team.

White-Fairhurst TPR model

Teams, let alone high-performing ones, do not form overnight. So treat mistakes as steps to success, accept the necessity of conflict, and your team will do their work in a healthy way. The five stages of group development are a group-forming model that describes the phases a team of people working together goes through. This model, also called the Tuckman ladder, was developed by psychologist Bruce Tuckman in his 1965 essay “Developmental sequence in small groups”. It shows how individuals form a high-performing team, focused on a specific goal. Each of the stages covers the challenges a group faces in the course of its maturation.

Storming Phase

When you lead a group, part of your responsibility is to observe. Each person in your group holds some value, otherwise they wouldn’t be there, right? Without them, no one will know what is considered acceptable behavior. Groups without rules are disjointed, prone to conflict and inefficient.

Greater team cohesion means members can rely on each other to complete work and provide feedback in order to continually improve. They are starting to trust each other, which means increased productivity and effective decision making. 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. This is the stage when things begin to settle down as your team finds their groove.

It might not be possible to plan an in-person meet-up, especially if your projects have short turnaround times. Create an agenda and establish a document to track ideas and comments during the meeting. Share a link to these meeting notes afterwards so that everyone has access and can review it later. Organize the agenda so that each team member has five to ten minutes to talk through their insights and ideas. Allow extra time to review the ideas the team shares and to answer questions.

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