4 6. In-depth Look: Tuckmans Model Five Stages of Team Development Strategic Project Management: Theory and Practice for Human Resource Professionals


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Also, Human Resources supports employees through team conflicts and mediates between management and workers which is an essential part of the Storming stage (Developing and Sustaining, n.d.). In the Norming stage, Human Resources professionals work to offer continual support to employees, facilitate discussions, and provide needed training (Developing and Sustaining, n.d.). During the Performing stage, all team members are working at an optimal level.

With a structured approach, you can improve your team’s performance at each stage of development. Adjourning is the final stage that occurs when the team is about to disband. Team members shift their attention away from task orientation to a relationship focus (McShane et al., 2018, p. 233). During this last stage, the team feelings might be concerns and anxiety because of the uncertainty or future. At the same time feelings of satisfaction and mixed feelings.

How Leaders Can Help at the Performing Stage

An easy way to do so is by encouraging everyone’s participation in team activities. Once the storming stage gets navigated, the team can achieve a better dynamic. As the real work starts during the storming stage, interpersonal and technical challenges will appear. Leadership decisions, individual work habits, and communication lapses during the storming stage can create tension within a team.

If you’re a team leader, it’s best to remember that an overlap between the storming and norming stages may appear. Your team can easily backslide into the storming stage, especially when new tasks arise or when handling the more complicated aspects of the project. For this reason, team leaders should be at hand to help members return to the norming stage. As strong personalities emerge, team leaders should ensure these individuals don’t inadvertently dominate the rest of the team and the project’s outcomes.

norming stage of team development

Some teams get created for projects with endpoints, while others are ongoing. However, even teams built for permanent projects can still undergo the adjourning process due to restructuring and re-allocation. The stage can cause uncertainty, especially among team members who are unsure about their subsequent roles. Thus, leaders should be supportive and help members transition smoothly into the new roles. Here, there’s cohesion, trust, and understanding among team members. The team functions at peak efficiency, and little or no oversight are needed.

How do you promote collaboration and innovation in your team?

Also, take the time to address and overcome conflicts early on so they don’t stay an issue throughout the other phases. Fellow for EnterpriseSupport company leaders with Fellow’s uniform meeting templates, collaborative one-on-one meetings, and feedback tools. ProductFeatures OverviewSee how high-performing teams are using Fellow to level-up their meeting and productivity habits.

Performing teams also get the job done with minimal supervision and conflict. Conflicts are no longer threatening and different perspectives are seen as valuable. When a team fully meets this stage, it is a high-performing team.

The Forming–Storming–Norming–Performing model of group development was first proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965.

On their part, members should learn how to organize their responsibilities. The forming stage is a honeymoon phase in team development. Conflicts are usually minimal since members are too newly acquainted to have any. A team comprises individuals brought together to fulfill a common goal.

norming stage of team development

After seeing where your team stands, you can take the essential measures to help them move to the next stage. In addition, you also need to keep an eye on your team even in the performing stage. Their progress can decline if there’s no one to keep a check on it. In this phase, the negative aspects of each member on the team are likely to show up. It is at this stage, members begin to feel they may not live up to the expectations of the team and the end result is frustration and anger from not being able to make progress. For your team to work collaboratively with few interruptions, they need tools that operate intuitively and will save them time.

The Norming Stage of Group Development

When you hit the performing stage, keep observing your team’s progress in case it slips back. For example, a new team member can disrupt the group dynamic, or a new business direction might five stages of team development principles of management mean you must reevaluate your team roles and goals. As the team moves towards its goals, members discover that the team can’t live up to all of their early excitement and expectations.

The five stages of team development go a long way in ensuring that your teams thrive and that conflicts are kept minimal. The last stage of Tuckman’s model of group development is adjourning which is also known as mourning. At this stage, the teamwork is done, tasks are completed and goals are met. This stage arrives naturally when a project is completed and the need for a team is no longer felt. Some members also feel anxious thinking of their future roles.

  • Team members refocus on established team groundrules and practices and return their focus to the team’s tasks.
  • Even if you’re not “Agile” , you self-organize around tasks.
  • Patience and consideration toward team members and their views go a long way toward avoiding this.
  • To take it one step further, leave specific time for this feedback when you outline the meeting agenda.
  • Members can now appreciate one another’s strengths and weaknesses and begin to define each member’s roles as leaders, communicators, organizers, etc.

This model is known as the forming, storming, norming, and performing model . The team members are trying to figure out their roles and what the team should be doing, which can lead to some conflict. In addition, conflicts and disagreements for the storming stage are mostly resolved.

Practical Tips To Master the Norming stage

This stage could be considered the less polite one due to frustration and disagreements. The team develops tasks to redefine the goals and conflict management (Stein, as cited in McShane et al., 2018). Originally the model, Bruce Tuckman only included four stages of team development, these were Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. However, in the late 1970s, he included a fifth stage which is adjourning.

How Can Leaders Help at the Norming Stage?

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. Some teams adjourn with silence, some with celebration, and others with sadness. Regardless of the length or success of a project, each team deserves a hearty affirmation of its concerted efforts. The adjourning phase is a fantastic opportunity for leaders to encourage long-term connections, reflect on the growth of the team, and celebrate the project closing.

Adaptations for Project Management

Supervisors of the team during this phase are almost always participating. Even the most high-performing teams will revert to earlier stages in certain circumstances. Many long-standing teams go through these cycles many times as they react to changing circumstances. For example, a change in leadership may cause the team to revert to storming as the new people challenge the existing norms and dynamics of the team.

Each member’s talents and skills get validated and utilized in executing the necessary tasks. As a result, the team starts to operate more effectively and gains momentum towards realizing the shared goals. Members become more comfortable with each other and understand the significance of utilizing their diverse perspectives to find practical solutions to any challenges.

The forming stage is often slow and casual since it primarily involves members getting acquainted. Trust is built, which plays a critical role in the team’s success. Disagreements are unavoidable on teams, especially when each person on the team has a different perspective on how to approach the issues the team encounters. When you all work in the same location, it can be easier to hash out problems quickly.

Investing in the individual is equally or even more important. This is the new world and a major key to creating lasting mutual investment in both the team and the company. Their win is your win that grows to become- Our win is the Team’s Win. Think of this phase like when you move in with a friend you’ve never lived with before, and you slowly start to notice the little things about them that get on your nerves. While some teams think they can skip this stage, it’s important to dive into it with the expectation that there may be some conflict. In order to not get bottlenecked in the storming stage, members have to work together and play to each other’s strengths to overcome obstacles and stay on pace.


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