In this activity from Hyper Island, group members create their own questions on post-its and trade them with other group members as they mingle and break the ice. In virtual teams, the need for activities to help teams get to know each other is even greater, as some of the usual spaces for mingling and forming bonds are unlikely to be unavailable to them. Let’s take a look at some activities designed to help teams get to know each other in the Forming Stage. Broadly, team development can be understood as a framework or series of actions designed to improve the way a group works together. Every team moves through the four stages of development, and may slip back a stage or two as new challenges or opportunities arise.
This exercise is an effective way of clarifying how your team should work together while also setting clear expectations around personal responsibility, reporting, and individual action. Used alongside exercises that help clarify team purpose and culture, this activity can ensure everyone on your team is positioned for success. To effectively move forward with team development, a group first needs to understand their purpose and overall goals. Frustration or conflict can arise if the group doesn’t agree on or understand the reason for the team’s existence and how success will be measured. Being sure the team is aligned on team goals early on means that you can develop as a group swiftly and efficiently.
Completion of each stage results in specific task outcomes aand in specific relationship outcomes that address member needs at that stage. This is a simplistic view of a team working through the five stages of team development. A team has been pulled together from various parts of a large service organization to work on a new process improvement project that is needed to improve how the company manages and supports its client base. The team lead on this project is Sandra from the Chicago office who has 15 years experience as a project manager/team lead managing process improvement projects. In the “adjourning” stage the project is coming to an end and the team members are moving off into different directions.
During the first stages of group development, you can help a team come together by creating space to build relationships with get to know you games and deeper exercises around empathy, trust, and group dynamics. In this guide, we’ll not only explore the stages of team development but also explore how you can move your team through them productively with practical tips, activities, and exercises. This is the perfect team development stage to learn about how your team overcomes obstacles and bonds through shared experiences. The main role of a leader will be to review the strategy, recognize the team’s key elements, and start developing new goals so that the Performing Stage will be achieved as soon as possible. Teams move through predictable stages of team development, but how quickly and easily they progress depends on how well the needs of the team are being met during each stage.
This leads to a period known as storming—because it can involve brainstorming ideas and also because it usually causes disruption. During the storming stage members begin to share ideas about what to do and how to do it that compete for consideration. Team members start to open up to each other and confront one another’s ideas and perspectives.
When necessary, Sandra provides a link from the team to the executives for decisions that need to come from higher up or when additional support is needed. 5 ways to reduce social loafing on remote teams Does your team struggle with social loafing? Learn more about social loafing and how to reduce it on remote teams.
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It is important to remember that every team – regardless of what the team is working on – will follow these stages of team development. It is the job of the team leader to help see the team through these stages; to bring them to the point where they are working as effectively as possible toward a common goal. The team seamlessly trusts, collaborates with, and supports one another. A deep understanding of each other’s communication preferences and work habits means that any internal conflicts are limited and managed effectively, even without a manager’s oversight. Team members now see each other’s differences as strengths—everyone fits and has a role to play. After delineating the roles of everyone in the team, it’s important to clarify expectations for how they should work autonomously and together.
- At this stage, it becomes essential for the leader to recognize superstars and rock stars (as defined in my previous article—read here) using the appropriate strategies with each profile.
- In some cases storming (i.e., disagreements) can be resolved quickly.
- The fourth stage appears without prior notice, as the team begins to consistently perform at a higher level, in unison.
- Frustration or conflict can arise if the group doesn’t agree on or understand the reason for the team’s existence and how success will be measured.
While originally things had been going according to plan, roadblocks crop up during this stage. You recognize that your team is new, and want them to feel supported, motivated and psychologically safe. So, you host a meeting where your team can get to know one another, their work style, and the way they feel appreciated. As a result, you’ll establish yourself as a leader of a team rooted in transparency and trust while you communicate clear expectations and team principles. When your team learns more context about what’s required of them in this stage, they’ll feel more confident. Understand your people’s needs and make team management your greatest strength.
Teams don’t always move smoothly, and sometimes they can get stuck. The first four stages of team growth were first developed by Bruce Wayne Tuckman and published in 1965. The storming stage is where each individual’s personality and preferred way of working shows itself. As people get down to business, the polite facade they held while meeting their team members for the first time fades, and each individual’s communication preferences, work ethic, and work habits shine through. Team members may also begin to test each other or their leader and try to stand out from the rest. At the end of the exercise, all the questions go up on a whiteboard to encourage further conversation throughout the day.
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It is therefore common for a successful leader to celebrate a goal achievement fleetingly, as his focus moves onto the next challenge in an effort to prolong this stage of performing. In the third stage, the team begins adhering to the rules, processes and procedures more consistently. Each individual becomes aware of his or her role within the team and, automatically, the levels of trust and cohesion increase. However, performance is not yet at the level the leader believes it can be. These four stages correspond with the research, however the titles reflect the issues the team needs to address, rather than the stage’s attributes such as forming, storming, etc. Teams might move quickly through these stages, but there is no evidence that a team has ever started off as a high performance team.
As groups work together, conflicts in thinking, approach, or working practices can and will arise. While conflict can be unpleasant, this often stems not from the fact we have differences of opinion but that our methods of articulating or responding to conflict can create friction or the feeling of being attacked. All groups are composed of individuals with different needs, communication styles, and working practices. When bringing those individuals together and engaging in team development, leaders will need to find ways to help everyone work together effectively and grow as individuals and as a group. Understanding the stages of team development helps you determine where to focus your leadership efforts.
Models are simply a way of organizing information in order to see patterns. A model of team development cannot accurately depict the journey of all teams. However, it does provide a useful framework to make sense of what is occurring and to determine what actions are most likely to help your team. In 1980, Roy LaCoursiere analyzed the current research and identified four stages of team development that were similar to Tuckman’s. In each stage, team members exhibit typical “task” and “relationship” behaviors, consistent with the basic theme of that particular stage of development.
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Once norms are established and the team is functioning as a unit, it enters the performing stage. By now team members work together easily on interdependent tasks and are able to communicate and coordinate effectively. There are fewer time-consuming distractions based on interpersonal and group dynamics. For this reason, motivation is usually high and team members have confidence in their ability to attain goals.
Get in touch in the comments section below and share your experiences with the community. By combining the team development model with practical action and teamwork focused methods at each stage you can help your team move through the process effectively and better enable personal and group growth. Tuckman’s model of group development can help you understand how a team might theoretically grow, but alone it isn’t sufficient to help your team succeed and meaningfully https://globalcloudteam.com/ develop. Being conscious of the process is a great place to start, but it’s worth remembering that reaching the performing stage isn’t a given and many teams get stuck early on. When your team is performing well, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and assume that things will remain at this high level indefinitely. As teams grow and change they can move back into the Norming, Storming or even Forming stages of the group development process.
At this point, the leader should draw out the opinions of all members and leverage the diversity of the team. As conflicts arise, the leader must take quick action to deal with the issue and maintain the positive climate. Each stage of team development doesn’t necessarily take just as much time as the one that comes after it, nor the one before it. This is where it’s important to level with individual contributors and truly get to know what’s going on. This is a great time to reflect on what makes a high-performing team able to accomplish tasks and move through obstacles.
At this point, the team leader should start transitioning some decision making to the team to allow them more independence but still stay involved to resolve any conflicts as quickly as possible. And start to think about what role they will play on the project team. They are effectively “feeling each other out” and finding their way around how they might work together. For a high performing team, the end of a project brings on feelings of sadness as the team members have effectively become one and now are going their separate ways.
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This dissatisfaction might be directed toward the work, toward the leader, or toward other team members. If team members don’t understand the importance of laying the foundation, or if they are impatient with process, or if they are too eager to begin, they will jump into the work prematurely. A model for analysing your teams and detecting different behaviours and patterns. Group norms have been accepted, and people feel comfortable to exchange ideas, without fear of misplaced judgment or rejection. The team is pleased with how well the project is going along, as is Sandra and the executives of the organization. Sandra has worked on projects with Sarah and Mohammed, but has never worked with the others.
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One on one meetings are key during this stage, as it’s important that each team member has a space to vent, air grievances, and work through any initial frustrations. It’s up to managers to provide this space and hear each team member out, whether in person or virtually. A team leader facilitates introductions, highlights each individual’s qualifications, background, and skills , roles are assigned, and responsibilities delegated. A large part of moving from Norming to Performing is empowering the members of your team to do work that excites and engages them individually as well as a group.
Even when a team is performing at a high standard, there are often opportunities for individual action and proactivity that can help maintain growth and keep everyone in a group happy. Remember that a group is strengthened as its individual members do more of what matters to them and are engaged in creating the change they want to see. In fact, moving from Norming to Performing often involves further refinement and reappraisal of working methods as your team grows and develops. Even on a limited-time project, taking time to analyze team effectiveness and working habits during the project is important in ensuring you can maintain productivity and course-correct where necessary. As issues are addressed and resolved, the team’s morale begins to increase. Trust builds, productivity rises and the team begins working together toward the common goal.
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In the “performing” stage, teams are functioning at a very high level. The team members have gotten to know each other, and they trust and rely on each other. The team leader needs to be adept at facilitating the team through this stage – ensuring the team members learn to listen to each other and respect their differences and ideas. This includes not allowing any one team member to control all conversations and facilitate contributions from all members of the team.
Stage 5: Adjourning
Team-building exercises are often done to help a team through its development process. I first heard of his stages of team development when I attended advanced leadership training offered by the Boy Scouts of America. Tuckman’s theory is that every group moves through four stages on its way to becoming a high-performing team.
One of the key ways to move from Norming to Performing is enabling your group to do their best work through refining processes and priorities and giving everyone space to grow and work on what most excites them. This might mean doing regular one to ones 4 stages of team building to develop and empower your team members or engaging in thoughtful group discussion around priorities and tasks. One possible misconception is that to move a group through the Storming stage, you have to prevent differences in opinion from emerging.
Over the next few weeks, Sandra noticed that arguments/disagreements were at a minimum and when they did occur, they were worked out quickly without her involvement being necessary. Still, she monitored how things were going and held regular virtual meetings to ensure the team was moving in the right direction. On a monthly basis, Sandra brings the team together for a face-to-face meeting. As the working relationships of the team members started improving, Sandra started seeing significant progress on the project. Teams that are not working effectively together will display the characteristics listed below.
In 1965, American educational psychological researcher Bruce Wayne Tuckman published Tuckman’s Stages as a way to improve teamwork and enhance company efficiency. His method originally only comprised four stages of team development until 1977, when he teamed with doctoral student Mary Ann Jensen to add a fifth stage. The main purpose of this activity is to remind and reflect on what group members or participants have been through and to create a collective experience and shared story. Every individual will gain a shared idea of what the group has been through together. Use this exercise at the end of a project or program as a way to reinforce learnings, celebrate highlights and create closure. You can foster the empathetic capacity of participants to “walk in the shoes” of others.
This stage looks at the team from the perspective of the well-being of the team rather than from the perspective of managing a team through the original four stages of team growth. Even in this stage, there is a possibility that the team may revert back to another stage. For example, it is possible for the team to revert back to the “storming” stage if one of the members starts working independently. Or, the team could revert back to the “forming” stage if a new member joins the team. If there are significant changes that throw a wrench into the works, it is possible for the team to revert back to an earlier stage until they are able to manage through the change. WorkPatterns provides One on Ones, Team Collaboration, Feedback, Recognition & Goals — all in one place.