Tuckman’s Theory: Five Stages of Team Development

This exercise will help you better understand and articulate your priorities each time you inherit a team. Act quickly to size up the personnel you’ve inherited, systematically gathering data from one-on-one chats, team meetings, and other sources. Reflect, too, on the business challenges you face, the kinds of https://globalcloudteam.com/ people you want in various roles, and the degree to which they need to collaborate. This is the sad part and is the reality of project life that ends – a definite end. The team you have developed was only for a fixed period of time. I have seen permanent teams are disbanded as per organizational structures.

tuckman stages of team dynamics

Most of the people here need to find new opportunities, or else they need to merge on a new existing team. Employees may feel nervous, excited or curious at the forming stage – it’s all new and there’s a lot happening. As a leader, you’ll need to be aware of how each team member feels and set the direction, so the team can get on with the task at hand. In agile software development, high-performance teams will exhibit a swarm behavior as they come together, collaborate, and focus on solving a single problem.


In the task realm, intimate, personal opinions are expressed. 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. Behaviors during the Norming stage may include members making a conscious effort to resolve problems and achieve group harmony. There might be more frequent and more meaningful communication among team members, and an increased willingness to share ideas or ask teammates for help.

tuckman stages of team dynamics

The result was a virtuous cycle of achievement and confidence. By the end of David’s first year, sales growth had far outstripped targets. In fact, already-ambitious forecasts had to be revised upward three times. The growth trajectory continued for the next two years, until competitors’ what are the four stages of team development introductions of new products began to make things more challenging. By that time, however, David’s team had achieved a dominant position in the market, and it was ready to launch new products of its own. Your requirements will depend partly on the state of the business.

According to Tuckman’s model and more recent ones like it, teams go through predictable phases of development that, with the right interventions, can be accelerated. The problem is that these models assume leaders build their teams from scratch, carefully choosing members and setting direction from the very beginning. Timothy Biggs suggested that an additional stage be added of “norming” after “forming” and renaming the traditional norming stage “re-norming”. After t 0, all team processes and outcomes, represented by the light gray circles, mutually interact and influence one another, similar to a pendulum. Even if an important scientific discovery can be made by a single person, the task of bringing that discovery to life often falls to a group of engineers and other scientists.

Team Dynamics Theory: Nomological network among cohesion, team mental models, coordination, and collective efficacy

There is general respect for the leader and leadership responsibilities are now shared amongst the team. The team needs to focus on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationships and emotional issues. Tuckman’s model has remained on target and it’s especially helpful in training people about group work because it relates so obviously to many other theories about how groups develop. Review available personnel history, performance data, and appraisals. Familiarize yourself with each person’s skills so that you can assess how he functions on the team and with his own unit or group. Explain to everyone that you will be using the meetings to assess the whole team and individual members.

tuckman stages of team dynamics

The Adjourning phase is certainly very relevant to the people in the group and their well-being. The four states of team development that he identified are still regarded as the main stages. His emphasis on the dynamics of team progress remains valuable. “With group norms and roles established, group members focus on achieving common goals, often reaching an unexpectedly high level of success.” By this time, they are motivated and knowledgeable. The team members are now competent, autonomous and able to handle the decision-making process without supervision. Dissent is expected and allowed as long as it is channelled through means acceptable to the team.

Team cohesion theories. 4.2 Five Models for Understanding Team Dynamics 2022-11-06

There is still a need for the team to focus on both process and product, setting new goals as appropriate. Changes, such as members coming or going or large-scale changes in the external environment, can lead a team to cycle back to an earlier stage. If these changes – and their resulting behaviors – are recognized and addressed directly, teams may successfully remain in the Performing stage indefinitely. The storming stage is the one most often characterized by group conflict.

Human processes are frequently characterised by variability and flux. Furthermore, our own experiences of groups are likely to show significant deviations from the path laid out by stage theories. ‘Stages’ may be missed out, other ways of naming a phase or experiences may be more appropriate.

  • The final stage, adjourning, involves the termination of task behaviors and disengagement from relationships.
  • In my work helping leaders navigate major transitions, I have found that most people, like David, instead need a framework for taking over and transforming a team.
  • See the Johari Window model, which can assist the process of mutual awareness development that is a major aspect within Tuckman’s model, and in the development of effective groups.
  • As the group develops cohesion, leadership changes from ‘one’ teammate in charge to shared leadership.
  • If a political party wins the elections in a country, cohesion in that group is likely to increase as a consequence of the good results.
  • Firstly, the members should be positive and energetic so that other members build positive attitudes toward them.

David Benet had two sales leaders, both deemed critical because their groups had to drive cardiologists’ awareness of the new products. They both needed to be immediately effective at communicating the products’ benefits to opinion leaders. The head of HR was a vital role, too—serious midlevel talent weaknesses in sales and marketing had to be addressed soon. This chapter examines such critical relationships in the context of team performance.

Belbin Team Roles explained: definition, the practice and test

Bruce W. Tuckman’s model offers us a way of thinking about the groups we encounter and participate within in. It offers, in Donald Schön’s terms a metaphor or image that we can play with to make sense of the phenomenon before us. The getfit challenge is a free 12-week, team-oriented fitness challenge open to the entire MIT community. Get your team registered by January 22, and get ready for all the fun, camaraderie, perks, and potential prizes that come with participation.

These individuals should strive to operate as a high-performing group of managers who run their departments independently and effectively. In such situations, assessment and management would focus more on individual performance and less on ability to work together. David, however, had a team of functional leaders who were quite interdependent. For example, he needed his VPs of sales, marketing, and communications to work closely together on refining and executing go-to-market strategies for the two products.

Vol. 1 Issue 49: Creating and Sustaining High Performance Teams

Start learning and using the language of Belbin Team Roles to help your teams along the Tuckman stages! This common frame of reference enables individuals to engage, express preference, explain how they work best and resolve conflict with each other. This is invaluable if a team has never worked together before, or if there is a ‘new’ and ‘old’ guard scenario – Belbin is always a great leveller and aids with cohesion. Longstanding teams may expand, recruiting more members and building on their successes, or may disband after the successful completion of their project.

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Model

It’s the stage that every group will hope to make as it’s when you can get your best work done. The team has just been introduced to each other and the task has been allocated. 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. Do the members embrace new ideas readily, or do they resist them?

The storming stage is when the initial excitement and good grace has run out. The reality and the weight of completing the project has now most likely settled in. This presentation is about project planning and organization of project teams. As part of a transformation process, we plan to have a team building exercise 500 km away from the office. Team Members have a clear understanding of what is required of them at a task level.

The 5 stages of group development explained

Little agreement on team objectives other than those received from the leader. Tuckman’s model is especially helpful in training people on group work, thus enabling groups to fulfil their full potential. This really isn’t an issue with the formulation – rather how a nice turn of phrase can lead to laziness on the part of practitioners and trainers.

Frustration or disagreements about goals, expectations, roles and responsibilities is being expressed openly. The addition of these stages to Tuckman’s model shows a tipping point before teams become dysfunctional. For any team, it’s crucial to understand and observe these patterns, especially at the informing and conforming stages, before the team has a chance to deform.

The conflicts among group members are also known as noise in communication.Conflict ⇒ cohesion dialectic. The classic Situational Leadership® model of management and leadership style also illustrates the ideal development of a team from immaturity through to maturity . Tuckman’s model explains that as the team develops maturity and ability, relationships establish, and the leader changes leadership style. Beginning with a directing style, moving through coaching, then participating and finishing with delegation, at which point they are almost detached. At this point, the team may produce a successor leader and the previous leader can move on to develop a new team. The ‘Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing’ theory is an elegant and helpful explanation of team development and behaviour.