Team Building 101: The Four Stages of Team Development

After the initial stage, teams often enter the storming stage, which entails conflict and disagreement. This stage holds a lot of frustration and dissatisfaction with the team progress. Oftentimes, members will challenge the leader and vie for status or authority within the group. By this point, there is increased impatience and members are more comfortable voicing their opinions if they disagree, so conflicts can arise easily. Some groups manage to avoid this stage, but usually only if the teams are deliberate in preventing problems before they arise.

You approach your team to learn about their bottlenecks, roadblocks and concerns. You come to realize that, by involving yourself, they’re burdened by an apprehension to speak up and would rather spend time rectifying the situation. When your team learns more context about what’s required of them in this stage, they’ll feel more confident.

what are the four stages of a developing team

Uncertainty is high during this stage, and people are looking for leadership and authority. A member who asserts authority or is knowledgeable may be looked to take control. Team members are asking such questions as “What does the team offer me?

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Teams can do this through creating an open and honest environment where everyone is respected. However, some teams experience such a strong Storming stage that they are unable to move past it. Simply put, being able to recognize your team’s current stage will allow you to better cater to your team and, if you are the team leader, to lead them to the shared goals.

what are the four stages of a developing team

Its members frequently socialize and even take group vacations. According to co-CEO John Mackey, they have developed a high degree of trust that results in better communication and a willingness to work out problems and disagreements when they occur. Finally, once all members have learned how to cooperate effectively, the team performs better than ever before. Everyone works together smoothly and efficiently towards achieving shared objectives. You know you’re ready to move into the next stage when you no longer hear anyone complain about working with other team members. Forming is the first stage and occurs as your players begin each new season.

Team development stages

This is the only stage where the word empowerment is truly appropriate. In the Performing stage, the team makes significant progress towards its goals. Commitment to the team’s mission is high and the competence of team members is also high. Team members should continue to deepen their knowledge and skills, including working to continuously improving team development. Accomplishments in team process or progress are measured and celebrated. As the team begins to move towards its goals, members discover that the team can’t live up to all of their early excitement and expectations.

what are the four stages of a developing team

They share insights into personal and group process and are aware of their own (and each other’s) strengths and weaknesses. Members feel attached to the team as something «greater than the sum of its parts» and feel satisfaction in the team’s effectiveness. Members feel confident in their individual abilities and those of their teammates. 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.

Coach Leadership: Ignite Serves Team Leader

Norms result from the interaction of team members during the development process. Initially, during the forming and storming stages, norms focus on expectations for attendance and commitment. Later, during the norming and performing stages, norms focus on relationships and levels of performance. Performance norms are very important because they define the level of work effort and standards that determine the success of the team.

what are the four stages of a developing team

Before committing to a tool, give your team some time to work with it and test it out to make sure it fits their needs. Lots of tools offer free trials, so use that time to experiment and check its compatibility with other products you use. By starting with a free trial, you have the freedom to learn as much as possible about the product before committing to it. With remote teams, it’s easy to run on assumptions until you’re almost up against a deadline — and then you discover that you didn’t get the outcome you needed. Help your team check in with each other by holding daily stand-up meetings or mid-week progress reports to see if everyone is on track and has the materials they need.

During the Norming stage, members shift their energy to the team’s goals and show an increase in productivity, in both individual and collective work. The team may find that this is an appropriate time for an evaluation of team processes and productivity. Members continue to rely on the leader for help with navigating this stage, but not quite as much as in the Forming stage.

Along with these stages, interpersonal relationships and task activities are also necessary for successful execution. 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. Your team needs to communicate clearly and, rely on one another rather than turn on each other. This is a crucial point in team development where leaders can pinpoint bottlenecks, areas of improvement and couple them with team strengths to build forward momentum.

Signs and questions to look out for in the storming stage

Creating a closing celebration that acknowledges the contributions of individuals and the accomplishments of the team and that formally ends this particular team’s existence. Yesterday, we balanced home-working with office presence, trying to find free slots in each others’ calendars for Skype calls with face-to-face meetings. Today, video meetings have become the default and no one can travel. Another stage that is Adjourning was added after a few years in collaboration with Mary Ann Jensen which focused on the separation of the team. This is indicated through the project stage which is either completed or very nearly there.

  • The norms that are established may be totally counterproductive to your team’s success.
  • Encourage team members to develop a schedule filled with large blocks of time that are free from interruptions like meetings or check-ins.
  • This is like describing a car by its model and color without considering what is under the hood.
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  • Team development creates a captivating atmosphere by encouraging co-operation, teamwork, interdependence and by building trust among team members.
  • As the name suggests, this is the “storm” part of the process.

During my work with teams, I encourage the players to openly discuss, establish and monitor the standards they want to commit themselves to – both on and off the field. Team members may feel a variety of concerns about the team’s impending dissolution. They may be feeling some anxiety because of uncertainty about their individual role or future responsibilities. They may feel sadness or a sense of loss about the changes coming to their team relationships. And at the same time, team members may feel a sense of deep satisfaction at the accomplishments of the team. Individual members might feel all of these things at the same time, or may cycle through feelings of loss followed by feelings of satisfaction.

Members look to the leader for guidance, support, and structure. This stage is the time to create a team structure to stabilize the team throughout its development. The structure could give roles to certain individuals or rule for all members to follow, but it should provide a basic outline for how the team will function. The leader should guide the members through the process of getting to know one another and should motivate members to reach the team goals.

Scenario: You’re leading your team through the forming stage

The team’s effectiveness is improved by recognizing and utilizing member differences. Once everyone feels more at ease, the team begins to work together toward common goals. People become familiar with others’ strengths and weaknesses and learn how best to use them.

Scenario: You’re leading your team through the storming stage

Then you need to encourage and help them establish more effective standards – or sometimes even impose more effective standards. Additionally, some teams make their way through the Storming stage but the unproductive norms that are established become their eventual downfall. The norms that are established may be totally counterproductive to your team’s success.

During this stage, members focus mainly on how they fit into the group, as they try to gain acceptance within the team. Because of this, there might be a lot of individual insecurity at the beginning. Members want their teammates to see them as competent and deserving individuals and as someone who can make a real impact four stages of team building on the team. With everyone trying to fit in, the communication during this stage is typically in a polite manner, so members may be less inclined to voice their own opinions. But chances are that even if you have experienced the high and low periods of teams, you might not know exactly what they mean or why they happen.

Typically, we take time on the front end to teach our players some conflict management skills in an effort to weather the Storming stage. In this forming storming norming stage, the team members start to reconcile or fix issues that could hinder their work or their progress. If the team manages standards and expectations well, members can be at ease in expressing their ideas and emotions. With that, team members may communicate more frequently and meaningfully as they go through forming storming norming. Members of the team refocus on the established team norms and procedures and shift their attention back to the job at hand.

The team is focused on problem solving and meeting team goals. While being a part of a high-performing team can be a really rewarding and growth-promoting experience, team development does not end there. The team must continue to concentrate on both process and product, defining new objectives as necessary. A team may cycle back to an earlier stage as a result of changes, such as new or departing members or significant alterations to the external environment. The storming stage development requires the team to emphasize its objectives, dividing more complex objectives into manageable parts. Both task-related skills and group dynamics and conflict resolution abilities may need to be developed by the team.

Scenario: You’re leading your team through the norming stage

Now, this is where things get tense for Adam, Daisy, Daniel, Mark, and Stella as they set their plan into motion, while their 5 personalities and opinions clash. Unless the team is patient and tolerant of these differences as well as willing to address and work on them, the team and project cannot succeed. A general idea of what types of vegetables they could grow is forming and includes tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, and peppers. The performing stage is a clear indication that your team is in a state of alignment.

While originally things had been going according to plan, roadblocks crop up during this stage. 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. Remote teams A simple platform that tells you how remote teams really feel, and fosters action-oriented 1-on-1 conversations. There is a fifth stage called «Adjourning» but I did not include it in this article due to the fact that it does not impact high-performing teams. Use a collaboration tool like Teamwork Spaces to organize and store your documentation.

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