team development process

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Great teams are not built overnight. It takes time, patience, energy, hard work and strong leadership. It also requires that you as a leader know and understand in which development stage your team is right now. Is it norming or storming? Are your team members conflicting with each other or working together? Are they sharing common goals, cooperative, supportive or are they just starting to know each other and learn about their roles?

How can you identify in which stage of the team development your team is in right now? There is a group development model which was first introduced by Bruce Tuckman in 1965 that can help you to understand your team better. There are five team development stages: Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing – Adjourning.

team development stagesEvery team goes through these building stages and this process allows team to grow, to face up to challenges, to resolve problems, to find solutions, to plan work, and to deliver results. The timeline of each stage may be different for each team depending on the individual members and their skill levels, the project the team needs to accomplish, and team leadership.

1. Forming Stage: –

This is a stage of transition from individual to member status, and of testing the leader’s guidance both formally and informally. Forming stage lasts a few days or weeks, up to one month. Everyone is excited and positive, energetic and enthusiastic! People start getting to know each other, make friends and share personal information. More clear direction from a leader is needed because the team is just starting out. This stage is known as “Here’s What To Do”.

Team members

• Learn about the opportunities and challenges
• Agree on goals
• Learn new tasks, responsibilities, communication, conflict resolution, group decision-making process
• Explore the boundaries of acceptable group behavior

Leader Role

• Introduce team members
• Identify team goals, team members’ responsibilities, roles
• Provide clear direction regarding the project
• Ensure that all of the members are involved in determining team roles and responsibilities
• Establish how team members will work together or “team norms”
- How do they support each other?
- What do they do when they have problems?
- What are my responsibilities to the team as a leader?

2. Storming: –

Storming is probably the most difficult stage for the team. People begin to realize the tasks and goals are more difficult than they previously imagined. They might start to fight and argue. Team members feel frustration, resentment, and anger as many professional and personal problems arise. Defensiveness, competition, and choosing sides are common side effects of this stage. With proper training and support, the Storming period may last 1-2 months. Without training and support, the team may not progress at all.

Team members

• Realize that the task is more difficult than they imagined
• Have fluctuations in attitude about chances of success
• May be resistant to the task
• Have poor collaboration
• Resist the tasks
• Argue with a team leader and members

Leader role

• Answer the following questions:
- Do we have common goals and objectives?
- Do we agree on roles and responsibilities?
- Do our task, communication, and decision systems work?
- Do we have adequate interpersonal skills?
• What should be changed?
• Establish process and structure
• Stay positive and strong
• Resolve conflicts
• Provide support to each team member
• Keep building good relationships between team members
• Explain the “forming, storming, norming and performing” model to your team

3. Norming: –

During this stage members accept their team, team rules and procedures, their roles in the team; and, the individuality of fellow members. Team members realize that they are.

Team develops the ability to express criticism constructively. The Norming stage usually is 4-12 months. There is a sense of team spirit that forms over this period of time.

Team members

• Become more independent and confident
• Learn new job skills
• Develop loyalty
• Maintain high energy
• Help and support each other

Leader role

• Help the team to take responsibility for progress towards the goal
• Support team spirit
• Help developing problem-solving skills

4. Performing: –

Team begins to perform. Members help each other, gain the ability to work through conflicts, resolve differences, solve problems and achieve goals. Satisfaction and pride become the key emotions during this stage.

Team members

• Members help each other
• Understand each others’ strengths and weakness
• Co-operate with everyone in the group
• Develop a close attachment to the team
• Become proud of their work and accomplishments
• Take pride to be a team member

Leader role

• Delegate responsibilities
• Celebrate team accomplishments
• Start focusing on other goals and areas of work

5. Adjourning: –

Adjourning stage is the break-up of the group when the tasks and goals are completed. This is a very sad stage for many people. Everyone can move on to new things and projects.

Team members

• Members have feelings of loss and sadness
• Motivation levels can decline as uncertainty about the future begins to set in

Leader role

• Help and support people who feel lost and vulnerable
• Provide good feed back on what’s been achieved

How to use team development model

1. Identify the development stage of your team

2. Choose the best strategy

For example:

To move from Storming to Norming your team needs to be clear on and share objectives.

1. Mission – Why do they work here? Do you team members share the same mission?
2. Vision – What does your team need to do be successful?
3. Goals – How are we going to get it done?
4. Roles – Do they understand their roles and responsibilities?

3. Educate your team

Let them know on what stage are they, what challenges they are facing, what is the future, encourage, support and lead them to the performance stage.

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