The personnel of any team change…People join, and people leave. Sometimes change can be healthy…but to get the best from a group of people needs an understanding of each individual and the ability to develop a “team mentality”.

One theory of Team Development is a model created by Bruce Tuckman in 1965 and refined some ten years later. Tuckman’s model explains that as the team develops maturity and ability, relationships establish, and the leader changes leadership style.

According to Tuckman’s model, the four stages are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, with mourning added in 1975. Let’s look at the stages and your role as a Leader.

Forming

In this stage, most team members are positive and are keen to bond with each other. Some will be nervous of the unknown…Some will just want to crack on! The leader will play a big part here because team members’ roles and responsibilities will not yet be obvious.

Storming

The team next moves into the storming phase, where individuals start to challenge the existing and perceived boundaries from the first stage. This is the stage where many teams fail, due to a conflict between team members’ natural working styles and personalities. The Leader now needs to lead by example and outline responsibilities and ethics in a bigger way.

Norming

Gradually, the team moves into the norming stage. Individuals start to resolve their differences, and mutual respect develops. There is a subtle overlap with the previous stage…Not there quite yet!

Performing

Finally, the performing stage, when everything comes together, people and team are united working towards the team’s goal. The role of leader in terms of team cohesion is now to maintain the level of achievement and kick on!

What about the fifth stage developed in 1975? Mourning? This happens when dynamics shift a bit as existing members leave, and new members come in…and the process starts again!

Where is your team in the model, and what are you doing to get to the final “Performing” stage as quickly as possible?

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Henry Ford