So, you’ve been assigned to lead a new team. You’re feeling confident because your team members are all talented professionals. But you need to ask yourself: do they have team spirit?  Even the most talented individuals can’t perform well together without team spirit.

That is why team development is crucial. Group or team development does not happen overnight. Team members go through group formation stages.

But what goes into the group development process? Let’s find out.

What Does Group Development Mean?

Group development follows the group formation stages to motivate individuals to work as a group. The newly-formed team then works towards accomplishing the common goal—be it a project, a sales target or a social activity.

There is no ‘I’ in a team. The actions of every team member affect others on the team and also the team’s performance as a unit.  It is part of the team development process.

How Did The Five Stages Of Group Development Come By?

In 1965, psychologist Bruce Tuckman introduced a theory about the stages of group development—forming, storming, norming, performing. He added a fifth stage in 1977—adjourning. In all, they are the five stages of group development.  The rhyming effect makes it pretty easy to remember the group formation stages. This model describes five stages that every team goes through during its development. The model minimizes the unpredictability of team dynamics and allows a team a better chance at success.

These group formation stages are relevant right from the time the team first meets. And the process continues until the project ends.

  1. Forming

This marks the initial stage of group formation. The members come together and try to get to know each other. They are equally nervous and excited to know about the tasks they will be working on and how they can approach them as a team.

As a team lead or manager, you should understand that, at this stage, everyone in the team desires to be accepted by others and wants to avoid confusion and conflict.

  1. Storming

The storming stage begins once the ice has been broken. During this stage, the team members interact closely with each other as they work on tasks. Competition and conflicts may arise.

Why? It’s the stage when the most dominant team members step forward. On the other hand, the non-confrontational members continue to be in a secure stage (forming). The storming stage is when your leadership skills, responsibilities, and strategies will be truly challenged.

  1. Norming

This is the stage in which the team begins to settle under clear guidance and leadership. Now, everyone works cohesively towards the goal. You will notice team members appreciating each other’s skills and experience.

  1. Performing

At this stage, the team works in synergy towards the goal. But here, you will notice more flexibility and interdependence among team members. Now that team members know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, they are in a better position to handle any conflicts that may arise.

In this stage, the roles and responsibilities of team members can often change with the situation. At this stage, team performance improves as everyone is focused on being task-oriented and people-oriented.

  1. Adjourning

This is the final of the group formation stages. During this stage, the group is terminated as the common goal is achieved. Some may call this “mourning or deforming”. This is because there’s a sense of loss as team members are separated or go their own ways after collaborating for long.

Now that you have understood the basic features of the 5 group formation stages, you can delve deeper into them by learning more about the Bruce Tuckman Model. Harappa Education’s Managing Teamwork course helps you learn more about such frameworks and models that can guide you to manage your team more efficiently. So, join the course today and take the first step to develop and enhance your leadership skills.


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