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The 5 Stages Of Group Development

The 5 Stages Of Group Development

If you are putting together a team to work on a project then it can be helpful to have an idea of what to expect. Tuckman’s Theory gives a solid idea of what most teams go through. However, having positive shared experiences will make it easier if you work with some of these people again. These stages were proposed by psychologist Bruce Tuckman group development stages and were named Tuckman’s Model. It always takes time for a new team to get used to each other and each other’s various different ways of working. How to make a work schedule (+ work schedule templates) Everything you need to know about creating a work schedule for employees, including free scheduling templates for busy managers….

group development stages

This last stage focuses on wrapping up activities rather than on task performance. This activity was conducted in the Team Leadership class at Texas Tech University. Prior to students viewing the film Glory Road¸ the instructor for the agricultural leadership course taught a lesson about Tuckman and Jensen’s Stages of Group Development. The lesson was lecture based and included a group activity in which students were asked to correctly define and place in order the stages of the model. By allowing students to physically witness and discuss leadership theories, students are then able to build the mental synapses that lead to deeper learning .

It is believed that these stages are universal to all teams despite the group’s members, purpose, goal, culture, location, demographics and so on. If your team has reached this stage, you’re on a clear path to success. You have a mature, well-organized group now fully-focused on reaching the project goals established in the Forming stage. The team is already accustomed to each other’s workflows, and most future disputes and conflicts generally become easier to overcome. The official team leader takes a back seat much more than in the previous stages, and the individual team members are given their chance to shine. Instead, they adopt an open exchange of ideas and opinions and learn about what it’s really like to work together.

Performing Stage

Today’s millennial generation students, also known as “Generation NeXt,” have been led to believe “that education is supposed to be entertaining, easy, and fun” (Taylor, 2006, p. 50). These students, most of whom communicate with each other and learn through technology, continue to “challenge and confound many in higher education” (Taylor, 2006, p.48-49). This is why many educators have found that straight lecture is no longer a viable option for all classes . According to Hickam and Meixner , “Not only do our students crave experiential pedagogies, they are likewise hungry for multi-media and pop culture stimulation” (p. 42).

group development stages

For instance, if the team developed a new work process to improve the customer experience, one of its team members may now have responsibility for overseeing that new and improved process. When team members change, whether a member leaves or new members join the team, the stages are often repeated. Performing is the stage when the team has come together as a group and is operating at a high level of efficiency and accomplishing the task it was charged with. In this stage team members are comfortable with each other and utilize their different perspectives to find workable solutions. This is a slow, more casual stage while members get to know and trust each other.

This is an interesting psychological moment as team members tend to behave independently at this stage. Whilst there may be good spirits and good intentions, the trust won’t be there. Marija Kojic is a productivity writer who’s always researching about various productivity techniques and time management tips in order to find the best ones to write about. She can often be found testing and writing about apps meant to enhance the workflow of freelancers, remote workers, and regular employees.

Keep in mind that no one person needs to be responsible for the team. Project management duties can be shared, with different members taking responsibilities for each stage of the project. Describe how Tuckman and Jensen’s five stages of group development were illustrated in the movie, Glory Road. Following the initial lecture, students spent two class periods watching the film Glory Road. They were asked to identify examples of Tuckman and Jensen’s Stages of Group Development while actively watching the movie.

June is approaching, and the vegetable garden is almost fully-grown. They know exactly which team member to call to help with each type of problem that arises in the project. Team members have grown fully accustomed to each other’s workflows. They respect and acknowledge each other’s skills, talents, and experience. Adam, Daisy, Mark, Daniel, and Stella are now mostly content with everyone’s opinions concerning the type of fertilizer and seeds they’ll use.

Stage 4

In the norming stage, the group becomes more cohesive and organized. Ground rules, or norms, are established to help team members work together and develop social relationships so that increased levels of trust and support are apparent . Next, in the performing stage, the group has matured, knows how to operate, and can focus on the task at hand. The focus of the group is performing, or completing the task that they initially set out to accomplish. Lastly, in the adjourning stage, some groups will have a planned ending and will complete their task and then disband.

group development stages

The team, which will potentially remain the same in a smaller company or startup, can now move on to the next project. As the name implies, the Storming stage of team development involves some conflict. Group members may compete with each other for areas of responsibility and/or specific tasks. There can also be conflict about the goals and objectives of the project . For those group members who have previously worked together, formerly unresolved issues may even arise. Some conflict can be good as it can help work through issues, as well as determine whether or not the group will be able to work together.

After the storming stage, they recognize behavioural patterns, strengths and develop foresight for upcoming roadblocks. You book 1-on-1 meetings with team members to learn about each of their experiences. As you do this, you recognize clear and consistent points with each team member and the benefits of hosting a team retrospective. In this meeting, you take notes from each team member and apply these to your team principles.

They’ll look to you for guidance and support, and when you establish a trusting two-way conversation, you’ll pave the way towards their professional growth. Ultimately, the goal is to make sure you can provide psychological safety as a baseline, evaluate team patterns of behaviour and notice when you’re in a negative cycle. When this happens, it’s important to take stock of what your team needs.

Forming Stage

According to Graham et al. , movies “are entertaining, informative, energizing, and educational, if used skillfully” (p. 37). By using movies in the classroom to help students visualize leadership concepts, their hunger for multi-media and pop culture stimulation is satisfied . According to Graham, Sincoff, Baker & Ackermann , “Using movies to teach leadership is a winning strategy” (p. 37). They also state that movies “are entertaining, informative, energizing, and educational, if used skillfully” (Graham et al., 2003, p. 37). Working in a team or group is a complex process characterized by 5 distinct stages. It’s best that you use each stage to learn and understand something new about your teammates and work on improving your workflows.

Delegate tasks appropriately, and according to the skills, experience, and interests of individual team members. At first, people are led by their natural desire to be liked by others and accepted among their peers. After all, when you have to cooperate with someone for a longer period, it’s easier to do it if you get along well.

Identifying The 5 Stages Of Group Development

Storming is characterized by competition and conflict within the team as members learn to bend and mold their feelings, ideas, attitudes, and beliefs to suit the team organization. Although conflicts may or may not surface as group issues, they do exist. Questions about who is responsible for what, what the rules are, what the reward system is, and what the evaluation criteria are arise. These questions reflect conflicts over leadership, structure, power, and authority. Because of the discomfort generated during this stage, some members may remain completely silent, while others attempt to dominate. Members have an increased desire for structural clarification and commitment.

At its peak, the group moves into the fourth stage of group development, known as the performing stage. Team leaders need to make sure that the stronger personalities don’t inadvertently dominate the team and its outcomes. All members should be actively participating before this stage is complete. The lead team member may need to use these skills when there are differing opinions and negotiation with team members is required. The team also needs a strong team leader who helps direct and keeps the team to task. This team lead works with the group and develops them into a functioning work machine.

A team sponsor is a person who provides the team with the goal and the resources needed to accomplish that goal. By studying this theory and being able to spot the stages in real life, you can prepare yourself for what lies ahead and how best to tackle it. When working in a supportive and cohesive team, creativity can be sparked and team members will have high morale.

Bruce Tuckman was a pioneer in group dynamics and developed the theory of team group development. Building strong teams is important because it fosters a healthy environment, where team members feel involved in how work gets done and valued as a member of the team. Workgroups become a cohesive team when they learn to appreciate differences. A highly functioning team requires the development of team members as well as the team as a whole.

  • Which means, you may experience these stages in sequential order, or find yourself in a loop with one or more of the stages outlined above.
  • Team members have grown fully accustomed to each other’s workflows.
  • The forming stage represents a time where the group is just starting to come together and is characterized by anxiety and uncertainty.
  • Some others may be depressed over the loss of family and friendship during the life of workgroups.

Our discussion so far has focused mostly on a team as an entity, not on the individuals inside the team. This is like describing a car by its model and color without considering what is under the hood. External characteristics are what we see and interact with, but internal characteristics are what make it work. In teams, the internal characteristics are the people in the team and how they interact with each other.


This framework is also known as Tuckman’s stages of group development. This helps to formulate a good group that leads to the success of a team. After working through the significant issues, the group begins to coalesce and actually work as a team, supporting each other, and this is known as the Norming stage. During this phase of team building, responsibilities are clearly defined and the team begins to map out a plan to achieve its goals. The team’s leader is more engaged in team building at this stage to make sure everyone understands the plan.

Take notes as you watch in order to more effectively write the paper. Such issues can relate to things like the group’s tasks, individual roles, and responsibilities or even with the group members themselves. Team training and development are key to strengthening teams so they are equiped to accomplish organizational goals. It is in this stage that the team begins to operate effectively and gains momentum in completing tasks towards accomplishing the team goal.

Team Building: Forming, Storming, Norming & Performing

The adjournment stage is becoming even more frequent with the advent of flexible organizations, which feature temporary groups. However, the focus for group members during the forming stage is to become familiar with each other and their purpose, not on work. 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. Organizations are only as strong as the groups of people who help them accomplish objectives. This is a time of celebration and recognition for a job well done. Healthy teams foster creativity – a critical component to a thriving organization.

The Forming Stage

This way, you can prepare for conversations that build trust while supporting your team and leading through each team development stage. Identifying each of the 4 stages of team development helps you underscore your team’s needs during each one. Teams assembled for specific project or for a finite length of time go through a fifth stage, called adjourning , when the team https://globalcloudteam.com/ breaks up. A planned conclusion usually includes recognition for participation and achievement and an opportunity for members to say personal goodbyes. Disbanding a team can create some apprehension, and not all team members handle this well. The termination of the team is a regressive movement from giving up control to the team to giving up inclusion in the team.

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Ultimately, the group needs to gain clarity by working through its major issues, which allows them to move forward into the next stage. The leader’s role in team building during this stage is a significant one. It’s important to note that not all groups make it past this stage. The leader must stay positive and coach members in assertiveness and, where necessary, conflict resolution skills. Because a work team is a common arrangement within today’s business organizations, managers need to understand group behavior and team concepts. Managers must also decide on team size and member roles to gain the maximum contribution from all members.

Daisy called a lot of shots in the Forming stage, so she emerges as the dominant team leader in this stage. She proposes a clear schedule and takes charge of contacting the local store to see what supplies they can get here, and what supplies they may need to go to the city for. She wants to go to the city to buy seeds because they cannot get the broccoli seed she wants in the local store. Well, truth be told, some teams may skip this step altogether, all in the hope that they’ll avoid unpleasant conflict and the clash of ideas. During this stage, the attention of the members is directed towards winding-up activities. Responses of group members vary at this stage according to their perceptions about the group’s goal accomplishment.