4 Key Stages of Team Development Leading to High-Performance Teams

Keep reminding the team to check in with each other regularly in person or via instant chat, but stay out of their way. They will waste time and lose their focus if they have to answer frequent, unscheduled questions about what they’re working on. Encourage team members to develop a schedule filled with large blocks of time that are free from interruptions like meetings or check-ins. In this world of constant notifications, it’s easy for people to get derailed and forget which goals are really important. This is especially important for creative and development teams.

four stages of team development

Effective communication within organizations is critical for success. This newsletter provides a sneak peek into one of Kimberly’s FireFly Flash 90-minute virtual team and individual work-effectiveness workshops. This newsletter also gives you a free download of the session summary to immediately give you an actionable start to improving your communication strategy today. Great teams are clear about what constitutes success and how each member contributes to that success.

Manager Versus Leader

What everyone needs most is a clear understanding of their part in the journey. Depending on the personalities and experiences of its members, a team may be able to absorb new elements with less friction. Teams can move forward and backward in the group development cycle, and even remain stranded in a less developed stage (yikes!). To improve your team’s performance, the first step to your journey is to know where you’re starting from.

four stages of team development

Kimberly Douglas and her experience as a master facilitator will bring her expertise to help your organization evaluate and problem-solve to re-energize and re-engage your team. Stage of team development, consensus and cooperation have been well-established, and the team resembles a mature, organized, and well-functioning machine. With a clear and stable structure, members can fully commit to the team’s objectives and constructively address problems and conflicts when they arise. Don’t rely on your own perspective; get a broader view of the situation. Have someone external to the team conduct confidential interviews of the team members and other key stakeholders. Ask questions about the current team dynamics, critical business challenges facing the team in the coming months, and expectations for what needs to be accomplished during the next few team meetings.

Stage two of five is considered the most critical but also the most difficult to go through. It can be riddled with conflict as the individual personalities and work styles clash within the team. It’s also common for team performance to dip a bit in the storming stage as members can sometimes disagree on goals, strategy, responsibilities, and roles. Also, keep an eye out for subgroups or cliques that can begin to form during this stage. While working on a high-performing team may be a truly pleasurable and growthful experience, it is not the end of team development. There is still a need for the team to focus on both process and product, setting new goals as appropriate.

Each person is operating from their personal vantage point, focused on the “what’s in it for me” reasons for joining the team. First days at new jobs, first assignments with new bosses—the forming stage of teamwork is all about first meetings and first impressions. As the team continues to grow their skill level and their enthusiasm rises, things click into place. They become a successful, capable team that sees positive results.

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They’ve grown much closer since the day when they first decided to start the gardening project, and not a day goes by without at least two of them meeting. Now, this is where things get tense for Adam, Daisy, Daniel, Mark, and Stella as they set their plan into motion, while their 5 personalities and opinions clash. At this initial stage, a glimpse of a future project leader may emerge, as the person who possesses the largest knowledge about the project’s subject takes unofficial charge. Teams are made up of individuals, and they function best when each member is happy, healthy, and productive. These stories will show you how to grow your skills, make your own path, and become the best version of yourself. The team needs clarity and connection more than anything else at this stage.

The initial “get-to-know-you” stage is over and now team members are starting to test boundaries. Their behavioral styles are becoming apparent as the niceties fade. four stages of team development As people start to understand their roles, they either settle in or maneuver for more influence. Leadership is tested as team goals can be tested and resented.

Module 11: Teamwork and Communication

And at the same time, team members may feel a sense of deep satisfaction at the accomplishments of the team. Individual members might feel all of these things at the same time, or may cycle through feelings of loss followed by feelings of satisfaction. Given these conflicting feelings, individual and team morale may rise or fall throughout the ending stage. It is highly likely that at any given moment individuals on the team will be experiencing different emotions about the team’s ending. As the team begins to move towards its goals, members discover that the team can’t live up to all of their early excitement and expectations.

four stages of team development

Each one consists of different behaviors which are driven by the team members’ needs. Understanding these needs and behaviors are essential in guiding the team to success. Every team moves through the four stages of development, and may slip back a stage or two as new challenges or opportunities arise. Being resilient, laying aside ego and working together will allow the team to meet the challenges and emerge stronger than when they started. Team members are able to prevent or solve problems in the team’s process or in the team’s progress. A “can do” attitude is visible as are offers to assist one another.

Team Development Stage 3 – Norming

Chiefs of StaffTrack key takeaways from executive meetings, enhance alignment across scaling teams, and amplify the CEO’s communication to help the company flourish. Team effectiveness expert Kimberly Douglas provides best practices, tips, https://globalcloudteam.com/ tools, and techniques in her FireFly Flash 90-minute workshops customized to your organization’s specific needs. Based on a survey of hybrid work challenges conducted with your team, she develops and conducts a unique learning experience.

Crossed wires and missed connections – good communication among teams is tablestakes for effective teamwork. Get best practices and sound advice on how to create understanding and work together better. Focus on building a shared understanding across your team and with stakeholders. Recently, several teams in our engineering department undertook a massive, ludicrously complex, business-critical infrastructure project. The number of risks and dependencies sent these established and cohesive dev teams into a flurry of (ultimately, unproductive and/or counter-productive) activity.

In the end, they sell the garden, and go their separate ways, capping off the project as a complete success in every way. If the team members have grown attached to the project, they may even mourn the fact that the project is ending and that they need to move on to work on other projects. The Performing stage is what your team is really after — in this stage, you and your team get to enjoy synergy. Unless the team is patient and tolerant of these differences as well as willing to address and work on them, the team and project cannot succeed.

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It’s important that you take the lead in developing agendas, gathering information and solving problems. Try to involve as many members as you can in conversations and decisions, but know that the ultimate responsibility lies with you. Take a look at your team, whether it’s internal or is a combination of internal and external members. I learned about The Four Stages of Team Development from my teenage son after he returned from Boy Scouts National Youth Leadership Training . A kanban board gives you a visual overview of all of the tasks for your project, so you can keep an eye on any bottlenecks or areas of pressure. Tasks can be assigned to team members, departments, and also dates to ensure your project stays on track.

The final stage, adjourning, involves the termination of task behaviors and disengagement from relationships. A planned conclusion usually includes recognition for participation and achievement and an opportunity for members to say personal goodbyes. Concluding a group can create some apprehension – in effect, a minor crisis. The termination of the group is a regressive movement from giving up control to giving up inclusion in the group. In this stage typically team members are ready to leave causing significant change to the team structure, membership, or purpose and the team during the last week of class.

Stage 4: Performing (The Team Gets Stuff Done)

The norming stage is more harmonious since teams understand why it’s important to ask for help, and how to come to you with questions when they need guidance. This is because your team recognizes how they can trust you and each other in order to complete tasks, move towards their objectives and rely on each other for help. Your team needs to communicate clearly and, rely on one another rather than turn on each other. This is a crucial point in team development where leaders can pinpoint bottlenecks, areas of improvement and couple them with team strengths to build forward momentum. Alignment Get your people in the same mindset with OKR goals and 1-on-1 meetings.

  • It’s up to you to provide clarity, ensure team alignment and employee motivation.
  • You are participating in the discussions instead of leading them all, and the team begins to solve problems jointly.
  • They have created a channel on the mobile app Slack so the team can instant-message all or some of the members.
  • The leader’s role in team building during this stage is a significant one.
  • The last thing you want to experience is team members who de-value one another or collectively fall behind.

Desktop & Mobile AppsPlan and run productive meetings… wherever you work best. Slack IntegrationCollaborate on meeting agendas, share notes, and exchange feedback – without leaving Slack. Team members have a clear understanding of where they can best serve the team’s needs, and everyone is highly motivated to get to the same goal. Storming happens, but it can feel like the worst thing in the world.

Why are the 5 stages of group development important?

As conflicts arise, the leader must take quick action to deal with the issue and maintain the positive climate. Team members may feel a variety of concerns about the team’s impending dissolution. They may be feeling some anxiety because of uncertainty about their individual role or future responsibilities. They may feel sadness or a sense of loss about the changes coming to their team relationships.

Stage #3 — The Norming Stage

Trade-offs – In this exercise, you’ll agree on what you should optimize for and where you can be flexible, so you can make those small, every-day decisions about your work autonomously. Hybrid Work PanelInsights from leaders at Loom, Upwork, Oyster, Because Mondays, and Fellow on how to embrace Hybrid Work. PodcastSupermanagers is for managers, like you, who want to be extraordinary at the fine craft of management. One-on-One MeetingsHave engaging 1-on-1s, never forget what was discussed, and build better relationships with your direct reports. MeetingsBuild collaborative agendas, record notes and action items in real-time, and never forget what was discussed. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive Kimberly’s expert tips, tools, and techniques.

This is a highly productive stage both personally and professionally. In this stage, team members are creating new ways of doing and being together. As the group develops cohesion, leadership changes from ‘one’ teammate in charge to shared leadership. Team members learn they have to trust one another for shared leadership to be effective. Tuckman’s original work simply described the way he had observed groups evolve, whether they were conscious of it or not.

Although forming, storming, norming, and performing takes teams on the journey to high performance, team development is not a linear process. As new elements are added or subtracted, the dynamic is altered. Of course, issues will still arise at every stage – even here – but at this stage, team leaders should have all the tools and understanding they need to resolve problems quickly and effectively. For your team to work collaboratively with few interruptions, they need tools that operate intuitively and will save them time. Find tools that don’t require hours of training and automate basic functions to get the job done. For example, if the project includes updating social media, sending email marketing campaigns, or even creating lead magnets, a tool like HubSpot is great for this level of marketing automation.

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