Becoming a manager for the first time is a career milestone. You’re no longer just responsible for yourself but also have to lead a team.

And building a dream team is hard work. You need coordination and collaboration, which is especially tough with many people still working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

If you’re looking to build and motivate a high-performing team, you can use American psychology professor Bruce Tuckman’s 1965 model of group development.

The Bruce Tuckman model says all teams or groups go through five stages of development: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. These stages of team development start from the time a group first meets and last until the project ends.

Let us look at these five stages of group development, or the Tuckman model, and see how you can implement it for better workflow management, building strong teams, and boosting productivity.

  1. Forming:

Forming is the first of the stages of group development when the team has been newly formed. Most group members are optimistic and behave politely. Team members could be anxious or excited about the project and the opportunities that lie ahead. A leader has to play an important role at this stage because the role and responsibilities of the group are not yet clear. Forming is one of the primary stages of team building. It is when teammates get to know their new colleagues.

  1. Storming:

Storming is the next of the stages of group development. This is when coworkers begin to break free from the boundaries established in the forming stage. This is also the stage when a number of teams fail. Storming usually starts where a conflict between team members’ internal working styles and ethics comes up. People work in different ways due to all sorts of situations but a serious mismatch of different working patterns can lead to problems. Storming is among the stages of team building  a lack of agreement comes to making group decisions. Sometimes team members could challenge the leader and compromises may be required to move ahead.

  1. Norming:

Over time, the team moves into the next of the five stages of team development: the norming stage. This is when the team resolves conflicts and members begin to arrive at a consensus on issues. They also respect the leader’s authority and make big decisions in agreement. Team members now know each other a little better. They might start socializing together and they feel comfortable asking each other for help. Teammates develop a deeper level of commitment to the collective goal, and they make effective and constant progress towards achieving it.

  1. Performing:

The group then reaches the fourth step of the stages of group development: performing. This is when the team starts functioning independently and doesn’t need any interference from the leader. A leader should delegate most of the work and focus on developing the group members. The team works towards achieving its goal and vision without instructions or assistance from the leader.

  1. Adjourning Or Mourning:

The last stage, and usually missing from the famous ‘forming storming norming performing’ line, is adjourning. Bruce Tuckman added this to his original model in 1975. This is when the group breaks up once it has completely fulfilled its task. Project groups exist only for a predetermined time period and even permanent groups can be dissolved while restructuring an organization or an institution. Members of the group who like the routine or who have developed good working relationships with coworkers find this stage extremely difficult.

Harappa Education offers a course called Managing Teamwork which walks you through the stages of team development and the application of the Tuckman model of forming, storming, norming, and performing. Sign up for the course and build your dream team.


Explore topics such as Managing Conflict, Types of Conflict, Workplace Challenges, Thomas Kilmann Model, Communicating Feedback & Types of Corporate Culture from our Harappa Diaries section in order to build trust-rich relationships at work.

Related articles

Discover more from Harappa with a selection of trending blogs on the latest topics in online learning and career transformation