Understanding the 5 Stages of Team Development for Better Teamwork
Every great thing we humans have achieved so far is the result of standing up for each other whenever needed. The essence of teamwork has lived on since ages right from the days when our ancestors used to hunt for surviving until now where everyone is expected to work together for staying ahead in the rat race of success. It is for this reason why many organizations are now looking into the aspect of team development for bringing out the best within the employees.
The success of an organization depends on the unity of everyone involved and there are several ways to develop it. One of the most common and effective ways is by organizing team building activities frequently. Through these activities, employees get the chance to know each other and also learn the art of collaboration to solve problems. However, we can still see that there are certain teams that outperform the rest.
These high performing teams not only display exemplary teamwork but also adhere to their organizational goals. So what was setting them apart from others despite being through the same process of team building?
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This is where the topic of team development and it’s different stages caught everyone’s attention.
Team Development and It’s Stages
The primary idea of team development and the various stages of development was first pitched by Bruce Tuckman in the year 1965 in one of his publications “Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development.” There he segregated the stages of team development into 4 levels initially which were: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.
In the later part, another level was added into this stage called “Adjourning” in the year 1977 by a doctoral student Mary Aan Jensen.
These 5 stages of team development talked about the approach that employers should take to ensure a strong and organized team.
The 5 Stages of Team Development
The forming stage is the base of team development. It is the stage where like-minded people come together to work for a common goal. This stage plays a vital role in deciding the future success of the team. It is where all the team members introduce themselves and learn about each other. Further, they are familiarized with their team goals and are given the chance to think about the best ways to achieve them.
Here, to support the teams, employers can facilitate avenues where every member of the team can display his/her talent. This can be done either by organizing some team building activities or by calling an informal team meeting where everyone feels comfortable. Once everyone becomes confident about the capabilities of their peers you can ask them to elect their team leaders.
At this stage, as an employer, you should focus more on strengthening the relationship between the team members. Once everyone recognizes each other’s strengths and weaknesses, they’ll be able to compensate each other whenever they have a task at hand.
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As the name itself suggest, the storming stage is all about letting the team members know each other deeply as they present their ideas to each other. This stage helps in clearing out any misconceptions which the members may have based on their previous interactions.
Also, this stage is all about disagreements as an idea presented by someone might not be well perceived by the other members. They may get involved in a debate about the best ways to complete the task or even raise their concerns if there’s any doubt about their abilities.
This is the stage where the role of team members becomes most important. It is now upto the team leaders to establish a mutual understanding between the team members and communicate the concerns with the higher-ups.
Being a responsible employer, you should be able to support your teams going through this stage of development by communicating your view based on your experiences. Moreover, you should remind them about the importance of their team goals and motivate them to keep aside their personal agendas while working as a team.
Now that the first two crucial stages are covered, the third one is the norming stage. All the team members till now have developed a mutual understanding and this is where the main teamwork kicks off.
Every team member is now familiar with each other’s skills and they probably know when to extend their helping hand. Everything begins to flow smoothly as planned during the earlier stage. All your team members have a clear understanding of the target they are chasing and are able to communicate about the progress made with their teammates.
The only role the employers have during this stage is to monitor their teams and make sure that they don’t run into any obstacles. You can check on their progress levels frequently and provide them with adequate guidance whenever required.
At number four comes the performing stage where all the team members develop the highest level of trust and confidence in each other. Upon reaching this stage, you can be sure that the members are following each other on the same track led by their team leaders.
The performance of your team starts picking up the pace and there’s no looking back. Everyone knows their role and puts in their best effort to bring success for their entire team.
The only thing that remains here for the employers is to make things easier for them by facilitating them with the required resources for the job and keep appreciating to motivate them.
The last stage in the entire process of team development is adjourning. If you’ve reached this stage then it means that your teams have successfully completed their work. This stage is all about celebrating the victory achieved together and revisiting the loopholes so that it can be avoided whenever the team takes up another task.
For employers, this is the stage where you should honor their efforts with meaningful rewards and recognition. Acknowledging the efforts of the team members will fuel their zeal to contribute more. This also marks the perfect spot for introducing peer recognition for encouraging team members to appreciate each other and strengthen the professional bond before they move to a new task.
Recommended Read: 6 Steps in Building an Employee Rewards And Recognition Program
Teamwork is not something that comes into existence all by itself. It takes a great level of effort both from the employers and the employees to generate the will for working as a team.
There are many instances where teams have fallen apart during a project because of not following a standard procedure. Employers often make the mistake of ignoring the concerns of the team members which later grows into big issues that hinders the level of team collaboration.
However, by implementing the five stages of team development sequentially you can mitigate such issues from arising as it helps in-
- Building trust and confidence right from the point when a team is formed.
- Clearing out everyone’s doubts and helping them reach a common point.
- Reminds them of their roles and responsibilities.
- Enhances participation by ensuring flexibility in planning and implementing.
- Improves their professional relationship for ushering a better work culture.
I hope this article helps the readers get a better understanding of the concept of team development. However, if you would like to share any thoughts or suggestions, then we would love to hear them from you in the comments below.