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Stages of Team Development

In 1965, Bruce Tuckman identified 4 phases of a team's life cycle. These phases are Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. At a later date Adjourning was added but for the intent of this blog we will stick to the initial 4 phases identified.

Think about the times you have joined a new group, a new school, a new job. Think about the initial uncertainty of it all. When we coach new teams, we need to also be very aware of these phases as they will inevitably always surface. We must always let the team self-manage and not redirect the natural Storming that must occurs. Without this stage, the team will likely never experience high performance.

During the Forming stage, the team members are somewhat anxious and uncertain of their roles. This is when the team starts looking for a leader to help guide them. The coach should act as a mentor and support the needs of the team.

During the Storming stage, the team starts growing its confidence and starts rejecting outside authority. An observer will note that a hierarchy has started to form and team members start resisting task demands. As a coach, be aware of this stage and allow it to flow naturally.

During the Norming stage, the team starts working cohesively. The members look for ways to be more accepting of individual differences. The team starts having an open exchange on views and ideas. As a coach, you can help facilitate this transition.

During the Performing stage, the team has a strong focus and is able to creatively problem solve. The team is flexible and adaptable, with a delivery focus. This is the stage we want to get all of our teams to. It's not always an easy road but once a team is in this stage, everyone will know and feel the dynamics and productivity.

What stage is your team in this week?

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