The first stage of group development is known as the forming stage — a time when the group is just starting to come together and is characterized by 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. Some believe this cautious behavior prevents the group from getting any real work done. However, the focus for group members during the forming stage is to become familiar with each other and their purpose, not on work. The forming → storming → norming → performing model of group development was first proposed by psychological researcher Bruce Tuckman in 1965.
In addition to evaluating accomplishments in terms of meeting specific goals, for teams to be high-performing it is essential for them to understand their development as a team. To illustrate the 5 stages of team development, let’s look at the example of Daisy, Adam, Daniel, and Stella. The 4 comprise a group of marketing-savvy professionals assigned to tackle a content production project. They have to write, edit, optimize, and publish 10 long-form articles on the topics that matter to the company’s bottom line.
The stages of group development with examples, explained
ThoughtHub is a collection of knowledge to help you learn more about your favorite topics. Here you’ll find a variety of articles on subjects such as business, ministry, archaeology, communication, psychology, education and many more. After all, their ability to 4 stages of group development overcome obstacles and achieve their goals is a reflection of a management job well done. They feel confident and comfortable when approaching you with concerns and questions. You book 1-on-1 meetings with team members to learn about each of their experiences.
Her ideas are sometimes different from Stella’s — to everyone’s delight, as this only helps when the writers reach a creative dead end. In this stage, you and your team get to enjoy synergy — a state where work flows smoothly. With that in mind, this is probably one of the most unstable of the 5 stages of group development. Similarly, she has established that teams should use warm-up activities — like physical exercise and mind games — to ensure a smooth transition from the Forming Stage to the Norming Stage. At this initial stage, a glimpse of a future project leader may emerge. For illustration, the person with the largest knowledge about the project’s subject takes unofficial charge.
Establish your team’s mission early
These activities include interactions of the team members with tools and machines, the technical aspects of the job (e.g., procedures, policies, etc.), and other task-related activities. The other track of activities is devoted to enhancing the quality of the interactions, interdependencies, relationships, affects, cooperation, and coordination of teams. After reading everything above, you have a pretty good idea where your team is at – but does the rest of the team agree? We all perceive things in our own unique way based on past experience and what we know now. Sounds great in theory, but putting it into practice can feel daunting.
Recently, several teams in our engineering department undertook a massive, ludicrously complex, business-critical infrastructure project. The number of risks and dependencies sent these established and cohesive dev teams into a flurry of (ultimately, unproductive and/or counter-productive) activity. If your team has ever thrashed about like this, then you know what “storming” is. While those people are still available when we need them, we usually don’t. Most teams today work according to the principles of the agile movement.
Norming and re-norming
In other words, any team setting that requires high performance can benefit from using this model. Interestingly, the 5 stages of group development model can even be useful in the theater. In other words, the energy levels reach their ultimate low in the Storming Stage because the struggle to find the leader and build some structure creates frustration and mood fluctuations. Sail into 2024 with our relaxed, festive, end-of year workshop on goal setting. Use the time to explore your goals for the coming year, reflect on what matters to you and gain clarity on what you want to focus on next year.
Supervisors during this phase may be more accessible, but tend to remain directive in their guidance of decision-making and professional behaviour. The team members will therefore resolve their differences and members will be able to participate with one another more comfortably. The ideal is that they will not feel that they are being judged, and will therefore share their opinions and views. The second stage of group development is known as the storming stage — where conflict and competition are at their greatest. Such issues can relate to things like the group’s tasks, individual roles, and responsibilities or even to the group members themselves.
If you reflect on them, they’ll tell you a cohesive story about their strengths, needs and performance. Understand your people’s needs and make team management your greatest strength. It can be tempting to avoid conflict, but doing so doesn’t help team building. A team that works together to resolve issues will trust each other more. They can rely on each other to do the hard work they were hired to do, despite any differences that arise.
Her punctuated equilibrium model (Gersick, 1988, 1989, 1991) suggests that groups develop through the sudden formation, maintenance, and sudden revision of a “framework for performance”. The specific issues and activities that dominate groups’ work are left unspecified in the model, since groups’ historical paths are expected to vary. In this case, the models should be independent of the specific details of the task that the group is performing. On the other hand, some models might describe phases of the group’s task performance and, because of this, tend to be very sensitive to the type of task that the group is engaged in (the “acting system”, p. 101). A strong team leader is the backbone of every high-performing team. Without strong leadership, teams may struggle reaching the performing stage.
Play to your team members’ strengths
They keep the team in line with the goals but don’t overly interfere in the process. They understand the needs of the group, know its objectives, and how to achieve them. 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. A leader’s role at this stage is to encourage cooperation, leverage the strengths of each individual and, again, identify and resolve conflicts before they get out of hand. Encourage members to roll up their sleeves and work collaboratively.
- Questions surrounding leadership, authority, rules, responsibilities, structure, evaluation criteria, and reward systems tend to arise during the storming stage.
- To clarify how this step could develop, let’s explore a real-life example of the Storming Stage.
- Their participation shifts from a strong directing force to a gentle guide.
- In the storming phase of group development, individuals start to express themselves and to flex their identities a little bit.
- A sense of community is established and the group remains focused on the group’s purpose and goal.
In fact, your team could consist of the best talent in the world. But, this means little if they don’t have a framework for working together — and that’s where the 5 stages of group development come into play. Formal groups are work units that are prescribed by the organization. Examples of formal groups include sections of departments (such as the accounts receivable section of the accounting department), committees, or special project task forces.
Norming Stage tips
Clockify is a time tracker and timesheet app that lets you track work hours across projects. Last but not least, the Adjourning Stage — often called the Mourning Stage for obvious reasons — ends the whole project cycle. Depending on the leader of the group, the Adjourning Stage can either be a leeway into future endeavors or it could impact future collaboration. Speaking of ends, the Adjourning Stage is the bittersweet cherry on top of each team and project, and it will happen whether you want it or not. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on your accomplishments and think about what you learned.