The Stages of Team Development

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  • 0:05 Team Development
  • 0:55 Stage 1: Forming
  • 1:55 Stage 2: Storming
  • 3:08 Stage 3 & 4: Norming…
  • 4:25 Stage 5: Termination/Ending
  • 5:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ashley Johns

Ashley has taught college business courses and has a master's degree in management.

You've noticed that many companies are moving toward working in teams. How do they do it? What does it entail? This lesson explains what to expect from team development and how to work through each stage.

Team Development

Teamwork has become a necessity for most companies. After years of delegating tasks to individuals, many companies are realizing that both quality and quantity increases when people work as teams. However, people have mixed feelings about working in teams. Some agree that two heads are better than one, while others feel like they'll get more work done if they just do it themselves.

To improve the situation, you need to break down the process of team development. The most commonly-used method was created by Bruce W. Tuckman in the 1960s. He broke the process down into stages which include: forming, storming, norming, performing and termination/ending. Each stage is explained through the team members' feelings, behaviors and tasks. Let's take a look at the entire process.

Stage 1: Forming

The beginning stage of team development gives members feelings of excitement and anxiety. They are excited about reaching goals, yet anxious about how well they'll work with the team. Think about it like getting ready to run a race. You're excited that everyone is there to cheer you on. You've trained for this moment. You're ready to go. Then, you start to get anxious. People are looking at you. What if you make the wrong turn? What if you don't have the energy to finish the race? These are all normal feelings during the start-up process.

Feelings of excitement and anxiety lead team members to ask questions. Go back to the race you are running. Anxiety might lead you to ask questions about the route you will run, available stops for water and the location of the finish line. You're looking for reassurance that you should be excited rather than scared.

Tasks that should be accomplished during the forming stage include: setting a clear structure, goals, direction and roles. This provides the team with a foundation of trust that can help them move past anxiety.

Stage 2: Storming

Once the reality of the tasks has set in, you may see team members start to feel frustration and anger towards other team members. Finding out how each team member works towards goals and handles stress has created these feelings. Go back to the race. You're running the race with a friend because you thought it would motivate you. Once you start running, though, you find out the friend's pace is much slower than yours. Being a competitive person, you start to get frustrated that you won't make the time you had set as a goal.

Feelings of frustration could lead to arguments during the storming stage. You may see members lash out at each other, the team leader or the team's sponsorship. For this reason, this is the stage that usually slows a team down.

To overcome issues within the team, the leader may need to develop a conflict management process. In addition, goals can be broken down into smaller steps that can be easily delegated to members with those particular skills. For the race you're running, you might ask your friend to start setting goals of running to a particular point before stopping to walk. This makes you happier because you get your friend to run further, helping your pace. Your friend is happy because he has a less daunting goal to reach.

Stage 3 & 4: Norming & Performing

Stage 3: Norming

Once the team has managed the conflicts, team members typically feel more accepted by the group. The team comes together and realizes that working as a team gives a stronger end-result.

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